Skip to main content

Full text of "The life and times of A.B. Durand"

See other formats

co \/Wt}%W to 

z YWfc - 

> '^F^ 5 ^ > 

5 ^ ^ <" 5 ^ to ^ - ,„ to 

oZr.&r z! fefc all < 

2 -» z *. Z z 


CO ± CO ± to 

vyan libraries Smithsonian institution NouniiiSNi nvinoshiiws S3iavuan libraries 

Z > <£ „ . Z to Z w j. Z 


to z to *'" z to z to 


to — co — 

* c fefe 3D ^ 
5 ^^ ^"^ 5 ^^ 

Z _j z 

z r- Z r- 2 

to =: to ± co 


CO Z to Z ,.,•. CO 2 CO 

IN... S ,< /<^l°S?>v - ^ .^.: ^SwT>v J«N'.. 

z to ^ 

to =; to — co 

1x1 . to /^^t\ ^ /<£S£\ to .<^.-i ^ x<^r?^ 



z r- Z f" Z 

jvaan libraries Smithsonian institution NouniiiSNi nvinoshiiims samvban librarie 

z ■, z » to z to 

to z to •" Z 

tiam MntinniQMi MwtKirtQui iwic aiuwunn 

oshiiws S3iavaan libraries Smithsonian institution N° , - Lni,iSN, z NV,N0SHi,ws w S3,ljLtfMan 

£ w ^ z co *. ~z <» z 


CO — co 5 Z .- s 



-y en 2* ifi 2 t Si: - ._ 2- * 

x ^. ^fw o Mr rtfi, . WW. . ^*/ r %> ' 

^ -•- =5 rn 2 CO z CO 

osHiiiMS S3 1 ava a n li b rar i es Smithsonian institution NoiiniusNi_NviNOSHiiws S3 1 ava a I 
co - co - y> 


ioshiiims c/5 s3 i ava a i i"l i b r ar i es^smithsoni'an'institution^ NoiiruiiSNi nvinoshiiws S3 i ava a i 


co - CO 2 ^^ ^ 

Z r- Z «~ z: 


S ^vosh^ > g z co 

.oshi. W s c/, S3 . ava a i A. b rar « es' institution Nouni.isN. m s 3 . avaa 

This edition is limited to 500 copies on 
small paper and 100 copies on larger 
hand-made paper. 




A. B. D U R A N D. 




t-gs^l ! - *■■..■ 

^1^4 . 


RL ? R 



Engraved by Alfred Jones from a Photograph. 













JAN 5 1968 


Printed by Strangeiuays & Sons, 
Tower Street, Cambridge Circus, W.C. 


THE various subjects that illustrate this volume 
have been selected not so much on account of 
their artistic merit as to show diversity of talent, 
and, again, because they were accessible and adapted to 
photographic processes of reproduction. Among those 
lent for this purpose, I am indebted to Mr. Robert 
Hoe for ' An Oak Tree ; ' Miss Fanny Gilliss for 
' Washington and Harvey Birch ; ' Mr. Frederick R. 
Sturges for the ' Portrait of Luman Reed ; ' and the 
New York Historical Society for ' The Wrath of Peter 
Stuyvesant,' belonging to the collection of the New 
York Gallery of Fine Arts. My acknowledgments 
are specially due to Mr. Alfred Jones for the gift of 
the portrait forming the frontispiece of the volume, 
engraved by him after a photograph. To those whose 
names are mentioned in the text as having furnished 
interesting material, I have to add my thanks to Mrs. 


J. Wordsworth Thompson for the use of valuable 
documents ; also to Mr. Charles Henry Hart, Professor 
William M. Sloane, and Mr. Gaston Fay, for kindred 
services. Finally, my acknowledgments are particularly 
due to Mr. Philip Gilbert Hamerton for the benefit of 
his taste and experience in rendering this book far more 
attractive than it would have been without his sympathetic 
and generous co-operation. 

Maplewood, N.J., 

August 21, 1894. 





I. French Origin — Genealogy — Parentage — Colonial Times — Politics 
and Religion — Amusements — Beverages, Food, Cooking, and 
'Help' — Topography of Jefferson Village — Influence of Environ- 
ment on the Child ........ i 


II. Autobiographical Fragment — Character of Parents — School-days — 
The Grammar Machine — Apprenticed to an Engraver — Partner- 
ship with his Master — First Work — Engraves 'The Declaration 
of Independence' by Trumbull — Dissolution of Partnership — 
Trumbull and his Gallery . . . . .17 

III. Fourth of July Oration — Poetic Effusions — 'Love and Moonshine' 
■ — Marriage — Michael Pekenino — Mental Training — -Recreation 
— The ' Elysian Fields,' Hoboken — The ' Battery,' New York . 30 


IV. The Profession of an Artist a hard one — Line Engraving a Fine Art 
— Nature of Art — Utility of the Artist in Society — Religious 
Sentiment : its First Inspiration — Gradual Growth of other 
Sentiments in Past Art — Fidelity of bygone Artists to Natural 
Perceptions .......... 43 



V. Dunlap offers a Commission — Various Portraits Engraved — Clergy- 
men, Patriots, Actors, and Physicians — The 'Annual' — Foreign 
Reputation of American Artists — Exhibitions — Rise of Art 
Institutions — The Press — Letter of James Fenimore Cooper — 
Collection of Philip Hone — Michael PafF — Fashion in Art . 54 

VI. Engraving for Business Purposes — Hatters' Cards, Lottery Tickets, 
Diplomas, Ball Tickets, and Horses — -Bank-note Engraving — ■ 
Drawings of Vignettes — The American Landscape — Prospectus by 
Bryant — James Smillie— ' Musidora' and 'Ariadne ' ... 69 

VII. Aspect of New York in this period — The 'Lunch Club' — Out-door 
Painting — Self-instruction — Affections — An Avenger of Wrong 

— Pseudo-reformers — Sylvester Graham — The ' Mad Poet,' 
McDonald Clarke — Pupils — The 'Sketch Club' and its Objects 

— End of Engraving Career — Initiatory Efforts at Painting . 78 



VIII. Luman Reed — The Service of Wealth — The Commercial Man- 
Early American Artists — Business Career of Mr. Reed — His 
Taste for Art — Our Artist visits Washington — General Jackson 
and his Portrait — Mr. Reed's relations with G. W. Flagg — 
Souvenirs of Mr. Hackett — House and Gallery of Mr. Reed — 
Illness and Death — Tributes by Cole, Mount, and Flagg — Effects 
of Mr. Reed's Example — The New York Gallery of Fine Arts 


IX. A Turning-point in Life — Figure-subjects — 'High Art' — Character 
of Exhibitions — The 'Hanging Committee ' Criticised — Various 
Features of Art — Ithiel Town — An Old Lady — P. T. Barnum — 
City and Country Life Compared — The 'Mecca' of an Artist 131 



X. Tour in Europe — Steamer Life — George Combe — 'Old Masters' 
in London — C. R. Leslie — Sir David Wilkie — Appreciation of 
the English School of Art — A Masquerade — London and the 
Country — Switzerland — Italy — Works executed in Florence — 
Claude Lorraine — -Life in Rome — Voyage Home — Icebergs — 
Arrival . . . . . . . . . . .143 

XT. The Period of Production — Prosperity of the Country — The Art 
Union War — Benefit of the Institution — Record of Works — 
Resigns the Presidency of the National Academy of Design — 
Summer Excursions — Life in the Woods — Art in a Western City 
— Studies from Nature — The Crayon — Rise and Decline of the 
American School . . . . . . . . .167 


XII. Retires into the Country — Works produced there — Letter to a 
'Patron' — Lays down the Brush for ever — A 'Surprise Party' — 
Evidences of the Esteem of Young Artists — The Interviewer — 
Closing Years — Characteristic Traits — Portraits of the Artist . 197 

APPENDIX. — I. Extracts from 'Letters on Landscape Painting,' pub- 
lished in the Crayon, 1855 — II. Reply of Horatio Greenough to 
a criticism by George William Curtis on the picture, ' God's 
Judgment upon Gog,' published in the New York Tribune, 1852 
— III. List of Engravings by A. B. Durand . . . .211 


Portrait of A. B. Durand . 

Portrait of Colonel John Trumbull 

Musidora . 

Bank-note Vignettes . 

Bank-note Vignettes . 


Portrait of Luman Reed 

The Wrath of Peter Stuyvesant 

Washington and Harvey Birch . 

Portrait of a Child . 

An Iceberg .... 

A Sycamore- tree, Plaaterkill Clove 

A Butternut-tree, Lake George 

An Oak-tree, Fishkill Landing . 

A Pine-tree, Lake George . 







I 20 
I 76 



French Origin — Genealogy — Parentage — Colonial Times — Politics and Religion 
— Amusements — Beverages, Food, Cooking, and ' Help ' — Topography of 
Jefferson Village — Influence of Environment on the Child. 

A SHER BROWN DURAND, the subject of this work, is 
f-\ of French origin. Jean Durand, his ancestor, a Huguenot 
refugee from Toulouse, in the south of France, fled to 
England and was naturalised in that country in July 1684. Jean 
Durand emigrated to America, and there, now John Durand, 
appears as a witness (February 8th, 1702) to a deed of purchase 
from the Indians of the land on which the town of Milford in 
Connecticut was built. In May 1705 he is a resident of the 
town of Derby in that State, and applies to the Assembly for 
1 freemanship. ' In May 1709, recorded as Dr. John Durand, he 
is appointed a delegate of the town of Milford on an expedition 
into Canada. His importance socially is attested by the following 
ofHcial record : ' By vote, Dr. Durand shall sit in the second 
seat of the square next the pulpit.' Dr. John Durand married 
Elizabeth Bryan, daughter of a prominent merchant of the day, 
and had eight children. The sixth of these children, named 
Samuel, was born July 7th, 17 13. Samuel Durand left Con- 
necticut for New Jersey about 1740, and settled in the town of 



Newark, where he married Mary Bruen and had six children. 
His second child, John, was born October ioth, 1745. On 
reaching manhood, John Durand established himself in a place 
six miles from Newark and two miles from Springfield, called, at 
a later period, Jefferson Village, where, in 1774, he purchased 
land and erected a dwelling-house. 

How the progenitors of the Durand family conducted or 
occupied themselves previous to the settlement of the aforesaid 
John Durand at Jefferson Village is merely of personal interest. 
It is presumable that they attended to their own affairs and 
fulfilled their social and political duties like other folks, without 
claiming or having bestowed upon them any privilege or honour 
that could distinguish them from their neighbours. In colonial 
times, according to early records, the rank of a man in society 
was determined, as we have seen, by the location of his pew in 
the meeting-house, while ' no one was allowed to vote who did 
not belong to the Church.' * It is probable that they were thus 
qualified, but that, inheriting French temperaments, they lived 
like most genial people, content to take life as it comes and 
gratify their religious sentiments in their own way. Why they 
emigrated from Connecticut to New Jersey is open to conjec- 
ture. It may have been that they did so to enjoy more freedom 
of action, like many others domiciliated among the more rigid 
Puritans of New England ; or, again, and probably the true 
reason, they left Connecticut in accordance with the ' incessant 
movement to and fro of people seeking to better their condition.' 
In any event, it may be said of them that, as Huguenots, they 
were ' the fine flower of an accomplished people, men of active 

* Forty Tears in America, by T. L. Nichols, M.D. ; The Emancipation of 
Massachusetts, by Brooks Adams. 


minds, austere morals, heroic courage, and often of refined 
manners.'* I lay stress only on the fact that the Durand family 
is of French origin. Certain qualities, talents, and works which 
distinguish a man are more readily appreciated when one knows 
from what nationality he has sprung, which is the case with the 
subject of this memoir. 

John Durand, having provided himself with a house, married 
Rachel Post of Newark, a young widow with one child, whose 
maiden name was Meyer, November 9th, 1779, in the thirty- 
fourth year of his age. His wife was of Dutch origin. Judging 
by a portrait of her, painted by my father in her sixty-fourth 
year, she might be taken for a Hollander of the time of 
Rembrandt. This couple had eleven children, of whom ten 
lived to maturity. It is well to note, as a sign of the times, 
that all but two of these children received Biblical names ; the 
two eldest only, Henry and Cyrus, being named in a worldly 
sense, while the others received names respectively after characters 
in the Old and New Testaments — Isaac, John, Elijah, Asher, 
and Jabez, along with Mary, Lydia, and Elizabeth. My father, 
Asher Brown, his middle name being that of a maternal rela- 
tive, was the eighth in the order of birth. 

It is necessary to convey some idea of the region of country 
into which my father was born, as well as of his social environ- 
ment, both of which shaped his character and professional destiny. 
It is probable that the few houses, painted either dingy red or 
white, which stretched along the road at the base of the southern 
end of the Orange mountain, had no name previous to the 
Declaration of Independence, a document which rendered its 
author the most famous man of his time throughout the country, 

* Edward Eggleston. 


As a matter of fact, the few houses thus honoured could scarcely 
be called a village ; there was no blacksmith's shop, no grocery 
and dry-goods store, no tavern furnishing a lodging-place for 
wayfarers, or a bar for toper or politician, and no church : its 
devout inhabitants, chiefly Presbyterian, generally walked, on 
Sundays, to the church of that denomination at Springfield, the 
settlement that gave its name to the township in which Jefferson 
Village was situated. The only public building in the village 
was a schoolhouse, a building which, as the centre of a hamlet, 
but symbolising a very different sentiment from that of its 
mediaeval analogue, the feudal castle, in Europe, forms the nucleus 
institution of American primitive life. Distant from the turnpike 
or toll road running between the two large towns of Morristown 
and Newark, the former at this time with two hundred and fifty 
inhabitants, and the latter with one hundred and forty-one 
houses and a population of one thousand, Jefferson Village lacked 
the usual stimulants of trade and travel which beget ' business,' 
the source of all progress in America ; and accordingly for a 
long time it remained ' slow ' and deficient in local enterprise. 
To atone for this deficiency, however, Jefferson Village possessed 
picturesque and moral advantages. Situated in a valley, formed 
on the west by the Orange mountain, and to the east by the 
opposite ridge of high ground declining towards Newark and 
the sea-level, it afforded for the lover of nature the centre of a 
quiet, rural landscape, not everywhere to be met with. Generally 
of one story, each house was shaded by a pine, willow, or black 
walnut tree, while there was attached to it a garden for vegetables, 
and a door-yard containing a grass-plot and flowers ; in front, 
close by the road, there usually stood a well-curb, with an ' old 
oaken bucket ' suspended to a ' sweep,' by which any thirsty 


wayfarer, if he chose, could help himself to a drink. The house 
in which my father was born was built midway up the mountain ; 
below it, on the opposite side of the road, came the barn, an 
apple orchard, cherry and other fruit trees, corn and wheat fields, 
meadow land, and a stretch of woods beyond ; behind it were 
the sheds covering the oven and wash-house. The woods 
reached to the top of the mountain, where the eye ranged over 
a vast expanse of lowland, consisting of nearly unbroken forest ; 
a spire on the horizon beyond a blue expanse of water indicated 
the site of New York City. A fair wind brought the boom of 
a cannon from the fort on Governor's Island, or a salute from 
a passing man-of-war, the only noises that reached the ear and 
reminded one of the great metropolis. A few steps back of 
the mountain to the west lay a wilderness, as it probably existed 
at the time of Hendrik Hudson, a primitive forest abounding 
with deer and other wild animals, and traversed by streams alive 
with trout. Game was plentiful — partridges, quail, woodcock, 
rabbits, squirrels of every species, raccoons, and foxes ; while 
occasionally a hungry bear that had trespassed on the farmyards 
in the vicinity would be tracked to its den and shot. One of 
these incidents gave the name of ' Bear Lane ' to a mountain 
road near the old homestead. The charm of wild solitude, the 
perfect repose of nature ' undisturbed by the voice of man,' 
which my father early enjoyed in his frequent rambles over 
this mountain, had much to do with shaping his taste for art. 
Such was the outward world in which he lived, and, it may be 
added, the school in which nature was his only teacher. We 
now turn to the human nature of Jefferson Village, likewise 
of a primitive sort. 

American villages in colonial times resembled each other 


in one particular — every man was obliged to get his living 
according to his aptitudes ; the chief end of man in all was 
to ensure the welfare of himself and family to the best of his 
ability and opportunity. Nobody profited by inherited capital 
or superior rank ; if anybody possessed money enough to 
buy the land he cultivated — he was comparatively rich, and 
that was all ; but he had to labour like the rest, and derive 
his support, as well as added wealth, mainly from the crops 
he raised. Mechanics, those who had learned a trade, car- 
penters, masons, and the like, bartered their labour for produce, 
while all sold both crops and labour at the best rates wherever 
they could find a market for them. Mutual assistance in 
other respects depended on neighbourly goodwill and the general 
community of interests. Everybody, in sum, derived his 
ideas of the common or public good from the cardinal principle 
of self-support, which principle, in the political development 
of the country, finally gave birth to the theory of self- 

But it took time for the theory thus generated to make 
headway. Political conceptions in those days emerged out 
of practical considerations ; nobody, except closet thinkers, 
undertook to solve social or political problems metaphysically. 
' Citizens were inquisitive, seeking the causes of existing insti- 
tutions in the laws of nature. Yet they controlled their 
speculative turn by practical judgment. . . . They were 
adventurous, penetrating, and keen in the pursuit of gain. . . . 
Nearly every man was struggling to make his own way in 
the world and his own fortune, and yet, individually and as 
a body, they were public-spirited. . . , They unconsciously 
developed the theory of an independent representative com- 


munity.'* Self-government — the delegation of personal rights 
to a representative, and considered as an abstract principle — 
really arose out of the slow and gradual comprehension by 
the people of the burdens of English taxation, coupled with 
the pretentions of the English Government to collect taxes 
by force, .In Jefferson Village, before journalistic days, news 
of English encroachments of this sort spread in various ways. 
A neighbour would take a load of hay to market at Newark, 
and on his return home would tell what he had heard about 
the Stamp Act in his talks with others like himself, while 
standing by his waggon awaiting a customer. Another would 
encounter somebody who had walked over to Springfield and 
seen a passenger by the coach from New York, who had told 
him about resistance to duties on tea. Generally speaking, 
the most news was obtained on Sundays at the church door 
before meeting began, or, again, from the minister, who 
would communicate it privately, unless, when of great im- 
portance, he stated it from the pulpit. ' In the absence of 
newspapers and of travel, the Sabbath was the day for hearing 
and telling the news, and the meeting-house became a sort 
of central bazaar where local gossip could be interchanged. 
The church thus became a club, as the door of the meeting- 
house served as a bulletin-board. It was a club, too, from 
which exclusion placed an inhabitant of the town under a 
ban, and made of him a pariah. 'f Whatever political dis- 
cussion ensued always grew out of the effect of the news on 
common interests. On the promulgation of the Declaration 

* Bancroft. 

f Three Episodes of Massachusetts History, by Charles Francis Adams, page 



of Independence, the popular mind was thus well prepared to 
accept and act in accordance with its telling abstractions. 

After local politics came religious questions. Here the 
metaphysical powers of the uncultivated human mind had 
full swing. The parson was now omnipotent. 'In 1735 
Gilbert Tennent preached at Amboy (a New Jersey settlement 
only a few miles from Jefferson Village) on the comforting 
and encouraging topic of the " Necessity of Religious Violence 
to Durable Happiness." .... The spiritual shepherds were 
wont to feed their flocks with food abounding in strength 
rather than sweetness. . . . The religious atmosphere of the 
middle of the last century was dark with the heavy clouds of 
doctrine and theology. Foreordination, predestination, election, 
and eternal damnation went hand in hand with free agency. 
The effort to reconcile the conflicting dogmas provoked 
laboured sermons from the pulpit and prolonged arguments 
and discussions in the farmhouse, field, and shop.'* A few 
years later various civilising influences had modified this spirit; 
but there was still enough of it. Bigotry in Jefferson Village 
provoked the same moral virulence as in similar communities 
in New England. Intolerance, characteristic of the epoch in 
old England, prevailed as in the mother country.^ The 
local intellect was a good deal stimulated by religious defini- 
tions and by criticisms of lax or refractory believers. A 
manuscript on foolscap paper, fifteen pages long, found among 
old family papers, in reply to some one who had questioned 
his orthodoxy, shows that one of my uncles had to prove 
thus elaborately that he was all right on the doctrine of 

* See The Story of an Old Farm, by Andrew D. Mellick, page 213. 

See A History of England in the Eighteenth Century, by W. E. H. Lecky, vol. i. 


Election. But theological rancour and disputes caused no 
disturbance in the Durand household, and because, probably, 
the heads of it gave them no countenance. My grandfather 
and grandmother, both of equable temper, were averse to any 
heated manifestation of feeling or opinion. The remarkably 
even disposition of their sons in after life, their ever kindly 
ways, the absence of guile in them, and a singularly honest, 
unworldly devotion to their respective occupations, were un- 
doubtedly due to this parental trait. 

Natural instincts and emotions cannot be kept down or 
suppressed by conventional religious or moral theories ; it is, 
after all, through the free play of the former that civilisation 
makes the most headway. However humble a community may 
be, the members of it, men and women, old and young, will 
enjoy themselves in some way. It behoves us, accordingly, 
to glance at the sports and pastimes of people in Jefferson 
Village in these primitive days. 

As to pleasure, if such a term can be applied to early 
American life, it was chiefly connected with work. The 
women held quilting parties, spent afternoons at each other's 
houses in the intervals between washing, baking, and ironing, 
and talked and gossiped over their needles. ' In addition,' says 
the author of The Story of an Old Farm, ' they made their own 
garments and many of those of the men ; they spun their own 
yarn, wove the family linen and woollen goods, smoked and 
cured meats, dipped tallow candles, brewed beer, and made soap. 
Their pleasures were limited, being confined mostly to quilting 
frolics, apple-paring bees, and husking and killing frolics. The 
latter were when the men met at each other's houses to do the 
hog-killing when winter set in.' Young girls would assist in 


making rag carpets, and engage in spinning contests to see who 
could spin the most yarn in the shortest time. Husbands and 
fathers, as at the present day, were so weary when the sun set 
as not to care much about recreation of any kind ; to them 
pleasure consisted of repose. The young men hunted and 
fished, according to season and opportunity. Riding behind a 
fast horse in a gig or waggon was one of their pastimes ; not 
to take anybody's dust, especially if accompanied by a sweet- 
heart, was their great pride. It is needless to state that 
' sparking ' went on according to natural laws and sympathies ; 
camp-meetings, revivals, and even prayer-meetings were quite 
as often attended to see the girls and escort them home as for 
religious purposes. Music, generally sacred, brought together 
the young people of both sexes for singing-school practice in 
the meeting-house. In the winter, when sleighing was good, 
there were occasionally ' straw-rides,' in waggon-bodies set on 
runners, to some remote tavern. ' Perhaps it is a string of 
twenty sleighs, with as many couples, gliding through the frozen 
landscape by moonlight, with the silvery ringing of a thousand 
bells and shouts of merry laughter, ending with a supper and a 
dance, and then home again before the day breaks.'* 

Beverages, food, and the cooking of it, are important national 
details, and must not be omitted in this sketch of American 
village life in colonial times. Beverages may be classed as 
natural and unnatural in the sense of local or imported products. 
In Jefferson Village, where the well-known ' Harrison ' and 
' Canfield ' apples grew, out of which the famous Newark cider 
was made, this was the principal natural beverage. Add to 
this ' apple-jack,' distilled from cider and affording an excellent 
* Forty Tears in America, by T. L. Nichols, M.D. 


alcoholic drink. Root-beer, a decoction of sassafras and other 
herbs mixed with molasses and water, formed another local mild 
drink, to which add elderberry wine and cherry brandy. The 
principal unnatural or imported beverage consisted of ' Kill- 
devil,' or New England rum, distilled from molasses, obtained 
in the West Indies by New England traders ; this ' tipple of 
the poor throughout the colonies,'* formed one of the great 
exports of the so-called ' land of steady habits.' It was largely 
consumed everywhere, especially by farmers in summer when 
harvesting their crops. It may be added in this connexion that, 
in the national sin of intemperance out of which untold tragedies 
have arisen, the role of New England rum f as a moral ingredient 
in the psychology of American character is important. \ Of 
other foreign drinks — except, of course, tea and coffee — wine, 
the beverage of the luxurious, was rarely found ; few probably 
tasted it except at the communion-table. 

* The Story of an Old Farm — applied, however, to Jamaica rum. 

j" ' From the molasses was distilled rum, which was in turn shipped to Africa 
and exchanged for slaves, the slaves being brought out in return voyages and sold 
in the South.' — The French War and the Revolution, W. M. Sloane, page 124. 

\ ' The cheapness of liquors prevented them from being measured in taking a 
glass. . . . Treating, drinking in company and in crowds, and this free dealing 
with cheap liquors, led great numbers of people into habits of drunkenness, many 
of them men of the highest ability and promise. There were drunken lawyers, 
drunken doctors, drunken members of Congress, drunken ministers, drunkards of 
all stages.' — Forty Tears in America, by T. L. Nichols, M.D. As late as 1832 
a friend and correspondent of my father writes from Pittsburg : ' With a single 
exception, I perceive nothing either in regard to the condition of the place or the 
character of the people which would render a residence here at all uncomfortable 
to me. The exception alluded to is the intemperate habits of a very considerable 
portion of the inhabitants, comprising persons of all ranks, grades, and conditions; 
but their manners in this respect are mending, and I am informed that already 
a great improvement is visible in the faces of those who have heretofore lived, 
moved, and had their being in Monongahela whiskey.' 


Cooking and food must be considered together. Cooking, 
in those days, was of the simplest kind, boiling, baking, stewing, 
and frying — the last the most universal, because it was the easiest 
and readiest mode of preparing a hot dish at short notice. The 
good housewife of that day was as busy indoors as her husband 
was out of doors, and had no time, if she had the talent, to study 
gastronomic compounds or processes. With a good stock of 
lard in the house, kept over from pig-killing time in the fall, 
she could, with very little preparation, fry a piece of ham, and 
soon complete a bill of fare for an unexpected guest with bread, 
pie, and cake, baked regularly each week, and of which, in- 
cluding preserved fruit, there was always an ample stock on hand. 
Next comes kind and quality of material for cooking. Fresh 
beef was rarely attainable, mutton and veal oftener, and of course 
pig-flesh always in some form. ' Occasionally fresh meat was 
had, as it was the custom of farmers, when they slaughtered a 
" critter," to distribute joints and pieces among their neighbours 
for miles around, relying for pay on a return courtesy.' The 
basis of alimentary supplies, however, in the way of animal food, 
consisted of pork. If not in the house, this was always pro- 
curable in various forms at a neighbouring store. When a hog, 
fattened at home during the summer, was killed in the fall, fresh 
spare-ribs lasted for many days, sausages for weeks, and salt pork 
eternally. In winter, communication with the rest of the world 
was entirely cut off ; the rivers and streams were frozen, and 
the roads more or less blocked with snow. It was accordingly 
necessary in the fall, before navigation closed, to lay in stocks 
of salt mackerel, dried codfish, smoked beef and ham, with one 
or two barrels of pork according to size of family. Potatoes, 
carrots, and beans, with apples fresh or dried, and preserved 


cherries, constituted the principal supply of winter vegetables 
and fruits ; these, with pumpkins and squash, were always avail- 
able. Milk, eggs, and chickens, somewhat tough on account of 
an exclusively corn-meal diet, with buckwheat cakes, dough-nuts, 
crullers, apple sauce, pumpkin pies, and sweetmeats, constituted 
the luxuries and delicacies of the winter table. In sum, for five 
months of the year, the breakfast, dinner, and tea, for every 
family, everywhere, rich or poor, consisted chiefly of salt food 
and hot cakes, soaked with lard, butter, or gravy. When spring 
came, and with it a warm, balmy atmosphere that stirred the 
blood, it was both theory and practice to purge and purify it 
by regular doses of Epsom salts, boneset tea, or sulphur and 
molasses. This system of cooking, feeding, and purging, not 
confined to New Jersey, extended more or less over the entire 
country. Is it any wonder that people were carried off by 
bilious fevers or affected with scorbutic maladies, which then 
abounded, and that stomachs were impaired by drugs, pills, and 
indigestion — in short, that dyspepsia became, as it is rightfully 
called, the national disease ! 

One more housekeeping detail, which greatly added to its 
cares and toil, was the difficulty of procuring ' help.' It is 
needless to state that, after a hundred years of the country's 
development, and in spite of the modern improvements due to 
steam and electricity which have rendered domestic service less 
toilsome, this difficulty still exists. In those days, it was not 
easier to obtain a servant, a ' good girl ' as is said, or ' the girls, 
as women servants call each other in American households,'* 
than at the present day. The household of a farmer who had 
a daughter fared pretty well until she was taken off by marriage 
* Democracy, the well-known novel. 


or death. If he had no daughter, and could obtain one of a 
neighbour who had two, and she was willing to ' hire out,' as 
was commonly the case, he was fortunate. This custom benefited 
the girl, for she was regarded by the family into which she 
entered as a friend on an equal footing ; ' she assisted in doing 
the housework, associated on terms of perfect equality with her 
employer's family, and considered that she was conferring an 
obligation, as indeed she was.'* She merely served an apprentice- 
ship with persons who were interested in her, which apprentice- 
ship fitted her all the better for subsequent duties on getting 
a husband. Another peculiarity of village life must not be 
overlooked. The dressmaker, travelling around from house to 
house, conveyed the news and gossip of the neighbourhood, and 
was always welcome ; while the school teacher, billeted on this 
or that family, was ever a welcome guest. 

It remains to give a final glimpse of Jefferson Village as it 
appeared topographically in its palmy days. On the foregoing 
pages the reader may have obtained some idea of its primitive 
state; about 1815, after the conclusion of the war with England, 
Jefferson Village had grown or ' progressed ' with the rest of the 
country. It then numbered over thirty families, and was entitled 
to a post-office, which would have given it a certain national 
status. Application was accordingly made to the Government 
for this important adjunct of social development. In proof of 
the right of the people to make this application, my uncle 
engraved a map of the village, showing the sites of its various 
dwellings, ' institutions,' and streets. On this map appear 
c Great Maple Swamp,' ' Little Maple Swamp,' ' Turtle Lake,' 
' Factory Pond,' ' Crooked Brook,' and the east and west 
* Forty Tears in dftierica, by T. L. Nichols, M.D. 


branches of the Rahway river, winding away to the south on 
the two sides of ' the Mountain.' There is a factory, a saw- 
mill, and two mines — supposed, according to tradition, to have 
been dug for copper, a meeting-house called ' Babel Chapel,' 
and a fortification, if a name goes for anything, called ' Bom 
Fort.' The names of the occupants of the dwellings are given, 
among which are ' Captain Smith,' ' Captain Sam,' 'Aunt Rachel,' 
and 'Neighbour Joseph;' also of the streets, which indicate a 
satiric vein, such as ' Dominie Lane ' — where the preacher lived 
who held forth on Sundays in Babel Chapel and wove rag carpets 
at home on week-days, ' Grub Street,' ' Heathen Street,' and, 
lastly, ' Necessity Corner,' where the school-house was placed. 
Whether or not there was too much of a waggish humour in 
the delineation of this map — as, for example, the names of the 
streets, to which even tradition bears no witness, or whether the 
people did not vote as now according to the dictation of ' bosses,' 
or whether the postal department did not approve of trifling 
with serious matters — it is certain that its mines, its lake, its 
pond, its swamps, its ' institutions ' and sawmill, all having 
disappeared like its old tenements and left scarcely a wrack 
behind, had no effect on the authorities. Jefferson Village is 
gone. Thanks to a land speculator of these days, who bestowed 
the name of Maplewood on a railway station built at his own 
expense near the village mainly for personal benefit, and which 
commemorates nothing but bygone maple swamps, Jefferson 
Village is scarcely more than an historical myth. 

Such is the character of the primitive community in which 
my father was born. But he was not of it. None of its ways 
excited thought in his breast, or prompted and governed his 
action. Not being a rugged boy, as well as the youngest, and 


probably petted by his mother, he was not called upon to assist 
his brothers in working the farm, or to take any part in the 
village amusements and social gatherings. His aims centered 
on the mechanical pursuits of his father, as he watched these 
going on in a shop adjoining the dwelling. Out of doors, his 
pleasure-ground consisted of the ' illimitable bounds of nature,' 
where he roamed at will over the fields and in the woods, 
enjoying perfect freedom physically and mentally, and with no 
society but the creatures of his imagination. Extremely diffident, 
as he said of himself, in his boyhood, he would hide behind a tree 
or bush at the approach of a person or vehicle. Habits of this 
kind, together with the gentle ministrations of his mother, and 
the freedom from moral restrictions which beset a boy ever told 
that he has to make his own way in the world, furnish the key 
to my father's capacity and conduct in after life. 



Autobiographical Fragment — Character of Parents — School-days — The Grammar 
Machine — Apprenticed to an Engraver — Partnership with his Master — First 
Work — Engraves 'The Declaration of Independence' by Trumbull — Dis- 
solution of Partnership — Trumbull and his Gallery. 

THE foregoing pages afford a glimpse of the boyhood 
and environment of the future artist ; we now turn 
to more precise statements, as recorded in the following 
autobiographical fragment, written at the suggestion of a valued 
friend, Mr. F. W. Edmonds, a banker and a fellow- artist of 
reputation in the American school of art. 

' My much esteemed Friend, 

' In compliance with your request, frequently and 
earnestly urged, I at length commence the work of putting 
down some memoranda in the shape of an autobiography. 
Rousseau says in one of his letters, Quoique j'aime a parler 
de moi, je riaime pas a en parler avec tout le monde; the plain 
English of which is, " Though I may like to speak of myself, 
I do not like to do so with everybody." This is emphatically 
my feeling ; and from my knowledge of your frankness and 
straightforward character, I am satisfied that, of all my friends, 
you are the one most likely to appreciate my motives in this 
matter, and especially to exculpate me from aught that might 
suggest an unworthy display of egotism. My present purpose 
is merely to give you what may be termed a chapter of 



incidents, and probably, after that, I may from time to time 
carry out to some extent their respective details. 

'I was born on the 21st day of August, 1796, at a small 
village in the township of Springfield, county of Essex, state 
of New Jersey. My father was a watchmaker and silver- 
smith by profession — at least, these were his principal occupa- 
tions. He possessed, however, mechanical talent of great 
versatility, and could turn his hand as occasion required to 
such diverse trades that it would be difficult to say what he 
could not do, so far as the means were within his reach. 
When a young man, he followed the trade of a cooper for 
a time. An uncle on my mother's side stated in my hearing 
that he had seen my father actually manufacture from the 
rough nineteen barrels in one day. He often employed 
himself in this way within my recollection, making for family 
use whatever article was required of this description. In 
masonry, also, he was equally skilful ; he would construct 
an oven, build a chimney, or plaster a wall equal to the best. 
I believe that there is still in the possession of some member 
of our family a brass gun which he manufactured entire, 
obliged as he was to make the tools himself. Besides being 
a universal mechanic, he was a farmer on a small scale : but 
for repairing clocks and watches he was unequalled in the 
country round about ; his fame in this respect was well 
established, and he was constantly pressed with business, 
disordered timekeepers being sent to him from distances of 
twenty and thirty miles by partial owners who were unwilling 
to entrust them to others of the same profession. A more 
industrious man never lived. Yet with all his industry and 
resources he was unable to amass anything beyond the means 


for a comfortable living, owing chiefly to extremely moderate 
charges for his labour and the maintenance of a large family 
of children.* 

' My mother was in all respects a suitable helpmate. She 
was like him in industry and aptness ; there was no require- 
ment in household economy that she was not equal to ; and 
for uniform, steady virtues as a wife, mother, and Christian, 
more than fifty years of unremitting toil, with many a painful 
trial, bear witness. 

' But I will not detain you with details of my honoured 
parents further than to add that my father was a descendant 
of the Huguenots, driven by persecution to this country at 
the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and, as 
tradition says, a French surgeon. -J" My mother's maiden name 
was Meyer, of Dutch origin, direct from the early settlers of 
New Jersey. \ I claim no ancestry at the venerable hands of 
John Bull. I am the sixth of seven brothers, and, if I may 

* Furthermore, 'He acted as a moral counsellor to his neighbours. Tem- 
perate in opinion, cool in judgment, and inflexibly honest, they could confidently 
consult him in all their difficulties. Though a plain country farmer, he was not 
indifferent to literature, judging by his books, for he was a subscriber to Gordon's 
History of the Establishment of the United States, and he possessed! the large folio 
Brown's Bible, an important publication of that day. His shop was a resort of 
prominent well-to-do men of the vicinity, where they discussed current political 
and social questions, serving as an intellectual exchange suiting the primitive habits 
of those colonial times. At the outbreak of the Revolution, our artist's father 
enlisted in the army, but the authorities, discovering his skill in mechanics, sent 
him back to make bayonets, the troops being sadly deficient in arms. In one of 
General Washington's reconnoitering rides on the mountain behind the Durand 
farm, his spy-glass was broken and was given to the farmer to mend.' — Memorial 
Address, by Daniel Huntington, President of the Century Club. 

f At the time this was written my father did not know the genealogy of 
his family. 

% My grandfather died in 1813, prematurely, owing to a severe strain in 


judge by earliest recollections, the feebleness of my constitu- 
tion was in proportion to the order of succession. I remember 
a keen sense of insignificance compared with the rest of my 
brothers. I was, indeed, a delicate child, and, in consequence 
of this, received a greater share of maternal solicitude, which 
circumstance has exercised an important influence on my 
feelings and conduct in all the vicissitudes of life. 

' At seven years of age I was sent to the village public 
school, where I was instructed in reading, writing, and 
arithmetic, a little geography, and the whole of the West- 
minster Catechism.* This instruction continued for five or 
six years, often interrupted, however, by the expiration of 
the terms of the itinerant teachers by whom the school was 

felling a tree on the mountain behind his house. My grandmother survived 
him nineteen years. 

* Grammar must be added, although he does not mention it. The text-book 
used by him in this school, decorated on the cover with a pen-and-ink scroll of 
leaves surrounding his monogram and bearing this inscription, 'Bought July 8, 
1 8 1 1 ,' is in my possession. In mentioning his studies, it is probable that he 
purposely omitted this one because, as he often stated, he learned all the grammar 
he knew from a machine constructed by his brother Cyrus. This machine, the 
idea of which his brother got from an acquaintance, rendered the abstract rules of 
grammar and the definitions of the parts of speech intelligible by objective means, 
through a combination of mirrors, slides, wheels, and other mechanical parapher- 
nalia, so manipulated as to show the reason why a pronoun should represent a 
noun, why the verb should express the idea of action, why the conjunction should 
indicate the link of connexion between words and phrases, and so on. For 
example, the reflection of an object in a mirror denoted that a word called a 
pronoun stood for the object or thing called a noun, the necessities of language 
demanding a term conveying the sense of that substitution. It is sufficient to 
state that this machine made clear the meaning of the abstruse words, indicative, 
subjunctive, potential, and infinitive, with the terms denoting the variations of the 
moods and tenses, by concrete images. It does not seem to have been adopted 
outside of the village or family circle of students. Its ruins still existed in my 
boyhood in the attic of the old homestead, afterwards burnt. 


supplied. Intervals of several weeks often occurred, which 
afforded me a good deal of time to indulge certain tastes for 
outdoor diversions, as well as for sundry operations in my 
father's shop. The latter consisted chiefly of the manufacture 
of various metal and other trinkets, such as sleeve-buttons, 
arrow-heads, powder-horns, bows, and cross-guns, and, finally, 
the most absorbing one — engraving on copper plates — and 
which fixed my destiny. 

' My father and two of my elder brothers were accustomed 
to engrave monograms and other devices on the various articles 
manufactured by them, and in this art I was early initiated. But 
I was not content with this, having shown some skill in drawing 
animals as well as the human figure, excited to do so by my 
admiration for the woodcuts in school books, and by the copper- 
plate engravings that fell in my way, especially by the tickets or 
cards of watchmakers placed in watch-cases, designed with one 
or two emblematical figures, and again by the simple vignettes 
on bank-notes. On examining these with a strong magnifier, I 
could not refrain from trying to imitate their, to me, wonderful 
mechanism. Never shall I forget the joy I experienced on 
finding, after a few trials, that my efforts were, in a degree, 
successful. In these attempts I was not only obliged to make 
my own tools, but I had also to invent them, there being no 
one at hand to instruct me. Gravers I could easily manufacture 
and use, but I discovered, in the course of examining prints, 
that there were lines and dots produced by some other means : 
through diligent study and research, I at length found that they 
were the result of a distinct process called etching. But I could 
not reach the secrets of this art so as to make it practically 
useful. I merely ascertained that the plate was covered with a 


peculiar varnish of wax, and that the lines were traced through 
this with a needle and corroded into the metal by aquafortis. 
I was told that it was white wax, and I made use of it, but, not 
succeeding, I abandoned the effort and confined myself to the 
graver. I have still in my possession one or two specimens of 
these juvenile productions, and even now I cannot look at them 
without a degree of surprise at the tolerable imitation of etching 
in rendering foliage and the ground, such appropriate objects 
in nature for the etching-needle. 

' Among the many visitors to my father's shop, there were 
occasionally men of taste and intelligence, who, on seeing my 
efforts, agreed that he would do well to place me with some 
distinguished engraver without loss of time. One gentleman in 
particular, Mr. Enos Smith, who had lived in New York and 
was himself an amateur miniature-painter, took especial interest 
in the matter. He accordingly volunteered to recommend the 
said artist, and undertook the necessary negotiations and arrange- 
ments for my pupilage. At length my father consented 
reluctantly to part with me, in case terms could be made 
consistent with his means. After months of consideration by 
all concerned, my amateur friend proposed that I should call 
on Mr. W. S. Leney, then the most prominent engraver in the 
city of New York. The time was soon fixed for the journey. 
Accompanied by two of my brothers, I proceeded to Newark, 
where we were joined by my patron, as I may call him, and 
for whom I had conceived a strong attachment. Thence we 
proceeded to New York, walking to Elizabeth-town Point, and 
from there to the city by water in a periauger. We arrived in 
the evening, and put up at an old filthy hotel near the Battery, 
kept by a Jerseyman of our acquaintance. Never shall I forget 


the feeling of desolation which came over me on this my first 
visit to New York ! I was then fifteen years old, and had never 
passed a day away from home — or, at least, from among my 
relatives. But still more vivid were the impressions of the 
following day, when, on walking up Broadway, I paused in 
astonishment at what were to me the splendid printshops in the 
vicinity of the City Hall ! At no subsequent period in my life, 
even in the great picture-galleries of Europe, did I experience 
such profound admiration of works of art as was then inspired 
by this display of coloured engravings ! I could have lingered 
and gazed at them for hours. But time was short, and we were 
obliged to hasten on to the upper end of the Bowery, where 
Mr. Leney lived. I remember continuing up Broadway to the 
vicinity of Grand Street, and then over hills and fields to St. 
Patrick's Cathedral in Prince Street, the walls of which were 
partially erected in the midst of vacant lots. On reaching the 
Bowery we were soon at Mr. Leney's house, and with what 
trepidation did I present my plates to him for examination ! 
How gratified at his commendation, but how saddened and 
disappointed on hearing that he required one thousand dollars 
for the premium of admission to his atelier, and stipulated 
another condition, that the expenses of the term of my appren- 
ticeship should be borne by myself! 

' These conditions were so far beyond my father's means that 
all further negotiations were abandoned, and we returned home. 
But my zealous friend did not stop here : some months after 
this he applied to Mr. Peter Maverick, then the most prominent 
writing engraver in the country, who had removed from New 
York to the vicinity of Newark, N.J., within seven miles from , 
my native place. Mr. Maverick consented to receive me, on 


condition that I would " find " myself and pay for my board at 
the expiration of my apprenticeship, at the rate of one hundred 
dollars per annum, agreeing to take me into his own family. 
These terms were practicable, and accordingly, just entering my 
seventeenth year, I took my seat in his engraving-room, regularly 
apprenticed to him for a term of five years. His residence was 
about a mile from Newark, near the Passaic river, a situation 
which suited my temperament, and so satisfactory was it that I 
may truly say that the first eighteen months of my apprenticeship 
were the happiest of my life. 

'My career as engraver thus commenced in October 1812. 
My first essay was a copy in lead pencil of an engraved head 
three or four inches long, the lines of which I carefully imitated. 
The effort was satisfactory to Mr. Maverick, and he immediately 
set me to work on a copper-plate, a piece of lettering consisting 
of an old title-page to 'The Pilgrim s Progress. Mr. Maverick 
considered my execution of this task equivalent to one year's 
practice under the direction of a master, and from that moment 
gave me work to do on plates for his customers ; the first one 
was a series of illustrations of Calmet's Dictionary of the Bible, 
a few of which contained portions of landscape. I remember 
with what delight I applied myself to etching and " touching up " 
these subjects. My progress was rapid. I soon surpassed my 
shopmates, and became the chief assistant of my master.' 

This autobiographical sketch here terminates abruptly. It 
was never resumed, mainly for lack of time, and, again, because 
the writing of it was an irksome task. It is sufficient to state 
that the pupil soon surpassed his master, many of the works 
bearing Maverick's name having been chiefly, and some entirely, 


executed by the pupil. During this apprenticeship his principal 
employment consisted in making copies for New York publishers 
of English engravings, illustrative of editions of Shakespeare and 
other poets, vignette designs for bank-notes, which then began 
to circulate freely, encyclopaedia plates, diplomas, and other 
miscellaneous productions. I find no example or record of 
original work done by him during his apprenticeship, which 
terminated in 18 17, on becoming the partner of Maverick. 

During the period of his partnership, which lasted about 
three years, the young engraver's reputation increased to such 
an extent as to render him principal in the firm, instead of 
subordinate, and therefore its mainstay. The business of the 
firm consisted almost entirely of that brought to it by his 
talent. Finally a dissolution of the firm took place, owing to 
the following circumstance, thus recounted in Mr. Huntington's 
Memorial Address: — 

' His first original work in engraving, when, instead of 
copying the work of others, he engraved directly from painting, 
was the head of a beggar, known as " Old Pat," a painting by 
Waldo, and now belonging to the Boston Athenaeum, and usually 
called " A Beggar with a Bone." Durand's engraving was so 
well executed as to call forth the admiration of Colonel Trum- 
bull, who had, about that time, tried to engage James Heath 
of London to engrave his " Declaration of Independence," but 
who had declined to do so on account of the extravagant 
charge. He then applied to Durand, who was willing to 
undertake it for three thousand dollars, half the amount which 
Heath had demanded. Maverick wished to be joined in the 
commission, but Trumbull wisely demurred. Maverick 
objected, was offended, and the partnership was dissolved. 


Durand was now his own master, and gladly received the com- 
mission. He was chiefly engaged on this large plate for three 
years, and the result was the masterpiece we know so well. 
In it he has preserved the likenesses with great fidelity, combining 
a free and vigorous use of the lines with a broad and rich effect 
of light and shade most attractive to the eye. It established his 

reputation as a master of the art Trumbull was greatly 

pleased. In a letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, dated New 
York, October 20th, 1823, he writes: "I have sent to you a 
small case containing a proof impression of a print which has 
been engraved here from my painting of the ' Declaration of 
Independence ' by a young engraver, born in this vicinity, and 
now only twenty-six years old. This work is wholly American, 
even to the paper and printing, a circumstance which renders 
it popular here, and will make it a curiosity to you, who knew 
America when she had neither painters nor engravers nor arts 
of any kind, except those of stern utility." ' 

The publication of this engraving established the artistic 
position of the engraver. Colonel Trumbull entrusted him with 
the commission in 1820, and the engraving was finished, printed, 
and published in 1823. The printing was done by an Eng- 
lishman named Neale, imported for that purpose by Colonel 
Trumbull, there being no one in the country qualified to do 
that class of work. The plate was very large, and the giving 
of so important a commission to an engraver so young was 
hazardous, to say the least ; but so was everything connected 
with the enterprise — especially the procuring of subscribers by 
Colonel Trumbull himself among people who were not wealthy 
and indifferent to art. My father reaped the most advantage 
from it, for it ensured his prosperity. Always, when alluding 



Reproduction of the Engraving made from the Portrait painted hs Waldo 
and Jewett, in the Trumbull Collection at New Haven. 



to his early career, he spoke gratefully of the eminent painter 
who thus started him in life. Besides employing him to engrave 
the ' Declaration of Independence,' Colonel Trumbull painted 
his portrait, and their relations were intimate. I dwell on this 
circumstance because, in later years, on the establishment of the 
National Academy of Design by the body of artists which had 
then become sufficiently large to take charge of their profes- 
sional interests, and who were dissatisfied with the regulations 
of the American Academy of the Fine Arts, of which Colonel 
Trumbull was the progenitor and President, he sided with his 
brethren.'* Colonel Trumbull died in New York, November 

* ' In the local history of art, Colonel Trumbull's connexion with the 
American Academy of the Fine Arts, and the part he played in opposing the 
formation of the National Academy of Design, are of interest. Full particulars of 
the strife are given in Dunlap's History of the Arts and Design, and in the Historic 
Annals of the National Academy of Design, by T. S. Cummings. Both of these 
writers were his antagonists. Dunlap, in his Life of Trumbull, carries his spite 
too far. It would pass for malice were his statements not more amusing than 
convincing. In trying to convey the idea that Trumbull was ungrateful to his 
early friend, West, that he was more English than American at heart, and that in 
the treatment of his important battle-piece he was only commemorating the 
triumph of Great Britain, Dunlap overshot the mark. The truth is, that in 
his connexion with the American Academy of the Fine Arts, of which he was 
one of the organizers and the President, Trumbull was trying to make water run 
up-hill. The difficulty between him and the artists who seceded from that 
institution was not so much due to him as to a condition of things beyond his 
control. The plan of the American Academy comprised a permanent, as well 
as periodical exhibitions, lectures, schools, library, and other agencies in art 
education, copied from a foreign model — that of the long-established Royal 
Academy in England — and not adapted to this country, or manageable by 
directors taken from the non-professional classes. The public of that time cared 
very little about art ; there were few artists, and the judgment of stockholders, 
whose authority in the institution grew out of the money they paid for their 
shares, did not fulfil the same ends as the more intelligent patronage of a king 
and a cultivated aristocracy. The mistake Colonel Trumbull made was in sup- 
posing that a kindred institution could be at once established in an entirely new 


ioth, 1843, a g e d eighty-seven years and five months, leaving 
a collection of his works at New Haven, containing, principally, 
his full-length portrait of Washington, to whom he was an 
aide-de-camp during the war, the small originals of the large 
paintings now in the Capitol at Washington, and a series of 
miniature heads of the eminent men and women of the Revo- 
lution, with a portrait of himself by Waldo, also that, of his 
wife painted by himself — all of inestimable value in connexion 
with the commencement of the American school of art, to say 
nothing of their being priceless souvenirs of a distinguished 
patriot. In anticipation of his death he had negotiated with 
the trustees of Yale College, New Haven, for a permanent 
resting-place for his works, together with a burial-place for his 
own and his wife's bodies ; the main conditions were an annuity 
for the rest of his life and a gallery for his works, with, under- 
neath it, the place of interment. These conditions were ac- 
cepted ; the gallery was constructed and Colonel Trumbull 
himself arranged his collection to his own satisfaction. At one 
end of the gallery hung his full-length portrait of Washington ; 
under this the portrait of himself by Waldo, placed there after 
his death, and that of his wife by his own hand, while in the 
ground under the floor reposed their bodies. His directions in 
relation to his burial were, c Place me at the feet of my great 
master.' Long after the completion of this monument, con- 
taining so many inviolable records of the past, the Yale School 

country.' — John Trumbull, by J. Durand, published in the American Art Review. 
In this connexion it may be added that on the dissolution of the American 
Academy of Fine Arts, its collection of works of art was offered for sale, with the 
privilege to the purchaser of selecting for 1 500 dollars any picture he pleased. 
Among them was the fine full-length portrait of Benjamin West by Sir Thomas 
Lawrence, now in Hartford. 


for the Fine Arts was established, and it was thought best to 
transfer the Trumbull collection, with the remains of the artist 
and his wife, to that building and place them under its founda- 
tions. Here they are, the paintings in an upper story, the 
annexe to a general exhibition of miscellaneous works, and the 
remains of the painter and his wife underground in the base- 
ment beneath. The reasons given for the transfer of these 
relics were, that ' the building which contained them was damp, 
the pictures were getting injured, it was difficult to take care of 
them, and the building was wanted for other purposes.' Those 
who remember the old gallery — a unique monument in honour 
of an illustrious patriot and artist — and consider the sanctity of 
contracts and of the grave, may question the soundness of the 
motives which prompted this transfer. 



Fourth of July Oration — Poetic Effusions — ' Love and Moonshine ' — Marriage 
— Michael Pekenino — Mental Training — Recreation — The ' Elysian Fields,' 
Hoboken — ' The Battery,' New York. 

THE foregoing details afford a general idea of the be- 
ginnings of my father's professional career. I now 
turn to other incidents which, to maintain a certain 
biographical unity, give a glimpse of his private life at this epoch, 
his mental traits, his reading, his associations, his recreation, his 
services to the public — in short, the experiences and fortunes of 
a personality of a certain time, place, and character. We must 
go back a little way. In 1817, two years after entering upon 
his apprenticeship, my father officiated in a capacity singularly at 
variance with any of his subsequent performances, that of a public 
orator. His ' fellow-citizens ' of Springfield township selected him 
for ' orator of the day ' on the celebration of the national holiday, 
July 4th, 1 8 17, soon after the close of the war with England. 
The celebration was held at the Springfield Presbyterian Church. 
The usual patriotic procession took place, at the head of which 
marched the music, consisting of fife and drum, played by two 
of the orator's brothers. The character of the address, published 
by request in the Newark Sentinel of Freedom, may be judged 
by the following extracts. Whatever may be said of the rhetoric, 
the patriotic sentiment which inspired it suited the occasion and 
the minds of the audience : — 

' Yon dazzling orb, as it towers above the horizon in all 


the effulgence of resplendent day, smiles with unusual com- 
placency on this eventful morning. 

,^L* jit jk, jjt Jt 

' When we contemplate the astonishing progress of this 
Republic along the plane of continued elevation, when we 
survey the splendid structure of our Federal Government, 
the rapidity of our improvement in Agriculture, Literature, 
and the Arts, together with the glorious achievements of our 
immortal Heroes, and when in contact with which we see all 
nature conspiring, subservient to advance us to the highest 
pinnacles of glory — have we not cause to look up to Heaven 
with eternal gratitude ? Have we not reason to exclaim, 
Happy America ! 

jfe $f. 4g. £fe &. 

' America is the last hope of human greatness ; and, warned 
by the red Beacon blazing over the wide plains of tyrannic 
desolation, let us shun the fatal path that leads to the waste 
dominion. An eventful era is before us ! The convulsions 
of Europe portend some uncommon epoch, and the potent 
hand of Revolution, now evidently lifting over Britain, may 
raise from the ashes of a sinking monarchy the Phoenix of 
a Republic. ... In vain the tempest of ambition shall 
thunder ; in vain the indignant billows of convulsing anarchy 
shall dash against its foundations ; it [America] is the last 
asylum for the rights of man ; the hand of the Eternal guards 
it from destruction ! 

ale 3k, ?if- ite. jk. 

' Soldiers in the cause of Freedom, I turn to you ! [un- 
doubtedly the Springfield militia]. To you we look for 
redress when the inflated insolence of foreign powers trifles 



with our long forbearance ! . . . . Let not the fire of 
patriotism dwindle in your bosoms ! When you see your 
liberty in danger, when you hear the groans of your murdered 
brethren under all the agonies of the ruthless tomahawk and 
scalping-knife, when you see your beloved wives and children 
torn from your embrace and perishing before your eyes by 
the ruffian hand of British cruelty, or inhumanly scourged on 
their naked bodies for weeping at the sufferings of their 
husbands — what are your sensations? I see the flush of 
indignation crimson the manly cheek ! I hear you exclaim, 
Perish the wretch who would shrink from the field of battle 
when such were his incentives to action ! 

3£ %. £|£ j£ _ 3|g 

'And you, fair daughters of America! .... In your 
defence, the arm is nerved with sevenfold vengeance ! To 
your embrace, the war-worn soldier flies from the din of 
battle, and all its hardships are forgotten— or remembered with 
the highest gratification.' 

The reader may probably exclaim, ' Enough ! ' It is 
sufficient to add that this severe handling of the British was 
listened to with wrapt attention, vociferously cheered, and 
honoured especially by the plaudits of the fair sex, as verified 
by a lady present on the occasion, who stated to the writer in 
her old age, ' We were astonished that one so young could 
know so much.' 

But this address was not the only manifestation of his 
patriotism. He had seen service in the late war of 1812, 
which probably excited his ire against the British. His brother 
and himself, so he told me in after days, had been called out 


along with other conscripts, and served one day somewhere 
back of Brooklyn, to assist in digging and throwing up 
entrenchments against a supposed landing of the British enemy 
on Long Island. 

We have now to turn to inspiration of a more peaceable 
stamp. A couple of letters found among my father's corre- 
spondence show that he was not only guilty of oratory, but 
of poetry in the shape of odes, which, if published at all, 
appeared anonymously. His correspondent, at all events, asked 
for copies of them. One of these odes was addressed to South 
Orange and the other to Springfield, the two large settlements 
of the township in which he was born. A rhyming reply 
to his friend's letter shows the working of the poetic vein, 
so natural at the sentimental stage of life. He apologises 
for not responding to the application sooner : — 

' But all the excuse that I shall make 
(Which, as you please, refuse or take) 
Shall follow here — then, first and last, 
Since you to other scenes have passed, 
And crossed the Rubicon of Love — 
Oh ! how could I so heedless prove 
As, from this Bachelorian shore, 
To send my wonted nonsense o'er ! 
I thought 'twould prove intrusive there, 
And cloud thy blissful Heaven so fair ; 
Besides, I've lived so long alone, 
My heart has grown as cold as stone, 
So that the muse that once look'd on me 
Has watched her chance, and now she shuns me.' 


Another effusion in the poetic line, although composed 
many years later for a special purpose, as its title shows, may 
here be inserted simply as a biographical item : — 

Love and Moonshine: for a Lady's Album. 

Of all the themes that poets choose 
On which to supplicate the muse 
Most earnestly for aid — that is, 
Of themes for pages such as this — 
There's none so apropos, so clever, 
As Love and Moonshine mixed together. 
Moonshine and Love has been the theme 
Of every poet's fondest dream 
Down through all ages light and dark, 
From Homer to McDonald Clarke. 
But not alone the poet's eye 
Rekindles as the moonlit sky 
Awakes the glowing charms of Love — 
Bright eyes below! bright stars above! 
Warm on the artist's soul it flows, 
And lo ! the living canvas glows ; 
And every artist, far and near, 
From Rembrandt down to Robert Weir, 
Has with a moonbeam drawn a sigh, 
As Michael Paff can testify. 

And who that's past the morn of life, 
With hope and expectation rife, 


That has not sought the Paphian bower 

And wooed the Cyprian queen ; 
Or who, when Cynthia, queen of night, 
Has shed abroad her silver light, 
Hath never sought the pensive hour, 

To sigh unheard, unseen? 
Let science range creation o'er, 
Let stern philosophy explore 

The hidden depths of mind, 
And let them spurn the winged boy, 
They'll never find a purer joy 

Than woman's love refined ; 
And though they shun the moon's pale beams, 
There's much of moonshine in their dreams, 

Of least substantial kind. 

Judging by this correspondence between the young friends, 
full of sentimental insinuations and allusions, it is evident that 
my father was thinking of matrimony, if not already engaged ; 
in any event, his rhyming letter is dated April 27, 1820, and 
the following year he was married and installed in a house in 
Provost Street, now called Franklin Street, New York. The 
date of his marriage with my mother, the daughter of Isaac 
Baldwin, Bloomfield, New Jersey, is April 2, 1821. It is 
probable that he was enabled to take this important step by 
the commission to engrave the ' Declaration of Independence ' 
given to him by Colonel Trumbull. 

One more correspondent of the same epoch who annoyed 
and yet amused him, as well as all who had the privilege of 
reading his letters, must be mentioned, an Italian named Michael 


Pekenino ; he was a stipple engraver, and had a table in the 
studio of my father, who harboured and helped him along mainly 
because he was a foreigner and unused to the ways of the 
country. ' Pekenino,' said my father, c sharpened a graver in 
the most wonderful manner. He told me that if he could 
engrave like me, he would go to with the greatest plea- 
sure,' as he expressed it in his Dantean phraseology. Pekenino 
was often employed by New York publishers, and particularly 
by a Mr. Bartow, for whom he engraved the heads of certain 
English poets to illustrate editions of their works republished 
in this country at that time. How the Italian regarded his 
patron may be gathered from the following specimen of his 
English, taken from a letter dated May 22, 1822, at Phila- 
delphia, to which city he had then removed, as it appears, 
to escape prosecution for debt : — 

' Dear Asher, — 

* Intreating Heaven, threatening Hell, cannot induce that 
adamantean Bartow to send me some money, and what is most infernal 
to my circumstance, I cannot get an answer from that obstinate being — 
in better terms, mortal stone ! That publisher of poets did not, and 
do not, soften his heart at all in reading them ! He is as much sensible 
as his mind is informed. I will write to him once more yet. I will, 
and it will be the last he shall receive not arrainged in good English.' 

On another occasion he says]: — 

' This year the Supreme Agent is indeed employed in recruiting 
the best earthy souls, Mr. Bonani, my countryman, which has illustrated 
Philadelphia for some months with his drawings which art was master 
off — he was called to Washington, and there, on the eve to be married 
to a living specimen of de Medicis (oh, sadness to imagine!), the irre- 
vocable shears cut off the tread of his life.' 


Pekenino wrote elegant script and boasted that the treaty 
of Campo Formio, or another of Napoleon's treaties, had been 
engrossed by him. He and my father engraved each other's 
portraits, Pekenino making his engraving after a portrait by 
Jewett, while my father made his after a portrait of Pekenino 
drawn by himself. At the close of Pekenino's sojourn in 
America, which chanced to be at the time Bolivar, the South 
American patriot, was a popular hero, he became impecunious 
to such an extent as to oblige him to raise money the best 
way he could ; the plate of my father's head being in his 
possession, he erased the title of c A. B. Durand,' and, adding 
an engraved framework around the head, substituted the title 
of ' Bolivar.' Many were sold, and occasionally impressions are 
now found. Pekenino, to finish with him, returned to Italy, 
the land of his beloved Dante and Petrarch, where, as he says 
in his letters, c I can enjoy the society of my friends Morghen 
and Longhi.' 

The foregoing experiences help to bring my father's mental 
training jnto clearer relief. It is evident that the common- 
school education of his native village was not of much avail 
in developing the powers of his mind ; on the other hand, it 
was no impediment to intellectual activity. The habit of the 
boy in satisfying natural curiosity in his father's workshop, the 
privilege of roaming the fields and woods which kept his mind 
in fresh contact with nature, and the indulgence of feelings 
and sympathies indoors that required no theoretical training, 
was an education of the best kind. Then comes another 
advantage in his early ignorance — he had nothing to unlearn. 
If he lacked the education derived from books, methods of 
instruction, and school drill, he found a fitting substitute for 


this in the knowledge gained by experience, and especially 
by intercourse with others whose educational facilities had 
surpassed his own ; intelligent, eager to learn, receptive and 
a good listener, his mind absorbed all the intellectual nutri- 
ment that his purposes and associations demanded. 

In 1 821 his friend Sylvester Graham, of bran-bread fame, 
an enthusiast of whom more will be said further on, had 
my father elected an honorary member of a debating society 
in Newark. At these societies, often organized by young 
men in towns and villages, the graduates of colleges and 
others, for self- improvement, the insolvable problems of moral 
and social destiny were generally discussed. Much of the 
subjective, metaphysical nonsense of youth here found vent. 
My father attended some of the meetings, and probably 
acquired ideas of general use in conversation. His reading 
at this time consisted mainly of the English poets, of whom 
Goldsmith and Thomson were his favourites. Their works, 
presenting human life and character in harmony with his 
rustic experiences, suited his temperament. Goldsmith's rural 
scenes and personages, the dramatic truthfulness and genial 
humour of the Vicar of Wakefield, and especially of The 
Deserted Village, together with the descriptions of the seasons 
by Thomson, vividly presenting the life of the woods and the 
charm of lonely haunts, answered to the longings of his 
imagination. In after years, many of the subjects of his 
landscapes were prompted by these poetic souvenirs. The 
earliest fruit of this branch of the tree of knowledge is his 
original design and engraving of ' Musidora,' his first effort 
at idealisation, and of which more will be said further on. 
How he occupied his leisure hours, of which he had very 

; id especially 

es had 

oeptive and 

Lual nutri- 

•bread fame, 
tier on, , had 

ting society 
by young 

dleges and 

ns of moral 

./ Monism _ ; 

Much of the 

tmuoie. ay* bimil iliiW ' 
.edmil auosJuEsd tad b'.qjqnK t gni^>vtue e^riEri 5;ij OUnQ Vdlt. 
'.booft 3fto io 223nIooD bbui aril siSBi " T . 

and probably 

.u\\ j«yi\Vu» : i,'v*% His reading 

s, of whom 


with his 

■^ mith's rural 

i genial 

of "The 

the seasons 

»ds and the 

rings of his 

of his 

rs. The 

edge is his 

first effort 


h he had very 



few, there is no record, save my own recollection of what 
he said about them from time to time during his life. His 
evenings were almost wholly devoted to drawing. Models at 
this period could not be had — scarcely a plaster cast of any 
description ; engravings alone supplied him with forms and 
figures to imitate or adopt as guides in composing original 
works. Only three elaborate pencil drawings remain to show 
what he accomplished during these years : the first two, 
derived from inner consciousness, consisting of the figure of 
' Musidora ' and another of ' Solitude,' and the last, a drawing 
of his first child seated on the floor by his cradle. Other 
recreations were few and far between. Family cares and a 
limited income prevented much indulgence in this way. One 
of his enjoyments was the theatre. He heard Malibran, and 
attended the performances of the elder Kean, and of the 
admirable group of actors of the old Park Theatre in its 
palmy days, fully appreciating the superior dramatic genius 
of that epoch. 

His recreation thus ministers to his professional pursuits. 
It forms an important element of his intellectual growth. 
Possessed by the sentiment of art and a love of nature, he 
wasted no time on society or in any sort of dissipation. 
When spare hours occurred he betook himself to Hoboken, 
where he supplemented the Orange-mountain rambles of his 
boyhood by strolling under the noble trees of the Elysian 
Fields, then a favourite resort of those whose experiences 
were like his own. Halleck, Bryant, Verplanck, Sands, and 
others, born and brought up in the country, engaged in 
literary pursuits, writing for newspapers and the like, were 
only too glad to ' steal an hour from study and care,' and 


refresh mind and body in this charming retreat. The Elysian 
Fields were then in all their glory. My father resorted there 
on Sundays and the few holidays which gave him some freedom. 
A horse ferry-boat still served to cross the ferry. On its 
deck chance acquaintances would be encountered and join in 
the stroll. On one occasion, an incongruous discussion on 
Rousseau's social theories took place with a moody, discontented, 
Radical printer, whom my father determined to avoid in the 
future. At other times, a more congenial companion would 
be encountered, and the problems of art would be discussed. 
But poets, painters, and printers were not the only frequenters 
of these grounds. It was a fashionable resort for ladies and 
children. The fresh summer breeze on crossing the river, 
followed by an unmolested frolic on the grass, were rare delights 
to them. City aldermen, again — respectable at that epoch — local 
bons vivants, staid merchants fond of good cheer, came at regular 
intervals to a club-house on the grounds to eat turtle soup, 
play whist, and talk politics. Unfortunately, on Sundays the 
Elysian Fields became more and more invaded by ' roughs,' the 
inevitable canker of public grounds contiguous to our great 
cities, until at last this sort of population got to be so numerous 
that good society abandoned the place entirely. Then came 
' commercial progress,' with its disintegration of all things lovely, 
its wharfs, piers, steamers, ' forests of masts,' and dirt. Broad 
avenues had been created, existent trees fell under the axe, and 
the Elysian Fields vanished from the face of the earth.* Mean- 

* The Stevens property in Hoboken, of which the Elysian Fields formed a part, 
was originally a farm belonging to a Mr. Bayard, an Englishman and a Tory, who, 
on the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, went back to England and afterwards 
became a general in the British army. Confiscated by the United States Govern- 


while, the Battery in New York itself competed with its 
Hoboken rival for recreative supremacy, and secured the attend- 
ance of all who were not free to indulge in a country stroll. 
Its precincts constituted the fashionable quarter of the city. 
Instead of a five-o'clock tea, almost everybody took a five- 
o'clock walk on the Battery, except in winter. The ' lower 
ten,' who lived ' up-town ' between the City Hall and Canal 
Street, availed themselves of the privilege, and formed a con- 
tinuous stream in Broadway every fine day, wending their way 
to and fro. Young men and young women — who, then as now, 
composed ' society' — were the most numerous, and flirted and 
gossiped to their hearts' content. Even sage business-men in 
dull times left their stores, not far off, and resorted occasionally 
to the Battery, to inhale some of its invigorating sea-breeze 
and bask in its genial sunshine. Fashion, however, finally 
moved farther up town, to Bleecker Street and Washington 
Square ; commerce and the demon of improvement asserted 
their rights, and the Battery, with Castle Garden, became a 
depot for emigrants. It is sufficient to say of the Elysian 

merit, the property was bought by Edwin Stevens, and is now in the possession of 
his descendants. Mr. Frank Stevens (through my friend Dr. A. M. Mayer, of 
the Stevens Institute of Technology) kindly furnishes the following information 
regarding the horse-boat : ' Boats have been propelled by the paddle-wheel, by 
horses or oxen for centuries. The Romans and Carthaginians both used them. 
Prince Rupert, the famous nephew of Charles I., made one. Savary patented 
one in 1698. But the application of the paddle in all these instances was to an 
ordinary galley or vessel. John Stevens, in 181 2-1 3, built the first horse-boat 
arranged so that vehicles with their horses attached could drive directly on it. His 
horse-boats remained in use until superseded by his steam ferry-boat Hoboken, 
in the latter part of 1821 ; but one of the horse-boats was retained for emergencies 
until 1825. The plan was copied on the East River for the Catherine Street and 
other ferries, and was long retained on some of the other ferries on the score 
of economy. The last horse-boat was advertised for sale in 1837.' 



Fields and the Battery, and to remark, in connexion with the 
life of old times, that in the transformation of these magnificent 
pleasure-grounds, New York lost two aesthetic landmarks never 
to be replaced. 

Trusting that the reader will pardon this digression in 
behalf of old times, and which the plan of this work makes 
necessary, I return to the engraving period of my father's life. 



The Profession of an Artist a hard one — Line Engraving a Fine Art — Nature of 
Art — Utility of the Artist in Society — Religious Sentiment : its First Inspira- 
tion — Gradual Growth of other Sentiments in Past Art — Fidelity of bygone 
Artists to Natural Perceptions. 

MR. HUNTINGTON states in the Memorial Address 
that 'it is a mistake that engraving was at that 
time almost the only artistic pursuit in the country 
which could furnish a reasonable support.' I must be per- 
mitted to differ from him. Notwithstanding the evidence in 
support of this assertion, I find, on the contrary, that other 
artists than engravers had a 'hard time' in the pursuit of their 
profession. As late as 1828, Alvan Fisher, a landscape-painter 
living in Boston, thus writes to my father concerning his con- 
tributions to the New York exhibition : — 

1 You mention that two of my small paintings had been sold, but 
that the person had not paid over to you the money received for them. 
May I request you to obtain the money and forward it to me ? Cash 
is somewhat scarce with me — as usual with the painters. Engravers, 
I believe, are generally in better condition in this respect than the 

Twenty- four years later the situation is the same. An 
eminent landscapist, whose merit was recognised abroad as well 
as at home, thus writes to a benefactor: — 

4 You will, no doubt, think me very ungrateful in neglecting to 
write to you sooner, but my apparent neglect is the result only of 


vexations and disappointments. I have sold in the last eight or nine 

months only four small pictures to my brother for 300 dollars ; 

these I sold shortly after you left the city, and one hundred of that 
went to pay a board bill contracted (in the country) last summer. I 
am, luckily for me, paying my board this winter for myself and family 
(with the exception of my son) in pictures ; Messrs. S. and L. (keepers 
of a hotel) kindly consented to do this, purely, I believe, to assist me. 

My son, poor fellow, is trying to get a situation on the Erie 

Railroad. His situation is my greatest trouble. Hitherto, I have been 
able to maintain him. But now adversity so presses on me that I 
have but little to spare, and it wrings my heart with anguish to witness 
his utter inability to get his living by painting. I have a wife and 
two daughters to maintain, and God only knows what is to become 
of them if I cannot sell my pictures.' 

Three years pass, during which period the artist lives by 
continuing to borrow money. Apologising for not having paid 
his debts, he says : — 

'North Orange, N. J., January 1, 1855. 

' I sincerely trust that although I have been silent, you will not 
attribute to me wilful neglect. I need not tell you that the artist's 
profession is a very precarious one ; it is impossible for him, do the 
best he can, to procure more than is barely sufficient to maintain 
himself and those dependent on him. If you should see in my con- 
duct anything that might imply a shadow of dishonesty, I beg, for 
" Auld Lang Syne," that you will eject it from your mind at once. 
You wish me to write you more fully about our new home. Alas ! 
I do not feel as tho' I had a home yet, the times are so dreadfully 
out of joint. I am convinced, however, that, notwithstanding my 
" penchant " for the country, circumstances will make it imperative to 
remove to the city. I am likely to be forgotten in this Town of 

Hatters and end my days a melancholy man if I stay here My 

prospects for the present are gloomy enough indeed. God help us!' 

Nevertheless, as Mr. Huntington aptly says, ' The painters 
supplied the engravers with material for their burin. Trumbull 


was busy with his battle-pieces, and often painted portraits. 
Vanderlyn had painted the portraits which enlisted Aaron 
Burr in his favour. Waldo was then a student, beginning to 
practise portraiture and eking out a scanty purse by painting 
signs for hatters, butchers, and tapsters. Some of those 
pictures of beaver hats, with their beautiful gloss, or ribs of 
beef and fat chickens, or foaming mugs of ale at the hands 
of jolly topers, which were swinging in the wind in our 
boyish days, were the handicraft of Waldo, as he himself told 

the writer Jarvis, too, was starting on that series 

of the heroes of the war of 18 12, some of which Durand 
afterwards engraved, and which now adorn the Governor's 
room in the City Hall.' 

Line engraving, it must not be forgotten in these days of 
photographic processes, which have almost supplanted it and 
converted it into a 'lost art,' was at this period of art 
development, the sole means by which the inaccessible works 
of a painter, those of an ' old master,' or of any foreign or 
native artist, could be made widely known. Through the 
cunning of its technical process, a line engraving displays the 
principal elements of a painting — composition, drawing, form, 
gradations of light and shade, and the subtleties of effect — 
everything but colour. In competent hands the mechanical 
processes employed, like delicate sculpture, become a fine art, 
and the engraver a genuine artist. Sometimes his art equals, 
and occasionally surpasses, that of the painter whose work he 
copies. The ' Hemicycle ' of Delaroche, for example, engraved 
by Henriquel Dupont, may be classed along with the original 
in artistic powers of expression, while it has been said of the 
two works, Van Dyck's equestrian portrait of 'Moncada,' and 



the engraving of it by Raphael Morghen, commonly called 
'The White Horse,' that if either painting or engraving had 
to disappear, it would be better, in the interests of art, to 
lose the former. In 1822, engraving in America was the 
only ' paying ' art — that is to say, the only branch of art for 
which there was a public demand. The public, however, cared 
nothing for ' high art ' in engraving, either in subject or 
technical skill, like the Madonnas of the great Italian schools, 
or the martyrs, saints, and allegories belonging to Renaissance 
art. Patronage of American engraving depended on less lofty 
aims. The American engraver had to employ his burin on 
portraits of men or women of more or less local reputation, 
or on familiar scenes that appealed to common sympathies, of 
which very few attracted attention. My father's progress, of 
course, depended on this order of taste. Public patronage, 
however, was not wholly due to spontaneous instincts ; he 
owed what he enjoyed of it more to the recommendation of 
his work by native painters — Trumbull, Sully, Allston, and 
others — than to public recognition of his talent. His aim, 
consequently, was not to please the public, but to perfect 
himself in his profession. Literally self-taught, he continued 
to improve in the same way, by means and facilities which 
his growing reputation afforded him. On establishing himself 
in New York, he procured the best examples of the works 
of eminent European engravers — Bervic, Raphael Morghen, 
Wille, Sharp, Audouin, Strange, and the rest — and studied these 
closely. All that now remains is to set forth the nature and 
conditions of his progress. In order to make this clear, I 
must claim the reader's indulgence for another digression. 

To portray the nature and conditions of an artist's 


career in a community like that in which my father was 
born, and where he had to make his way self-educated and 
self-supporting ; where the utility of art in the past could 
not be estimated by accessible works in free galleries ; where 
men of artistic genius born on the soil, like Benjamin West, 
were obliged to emigrate ; where architects, and especially 
sculptors, like Houdon, were imported into the country to 
model the form and features of its greatest man ; where 
there was almost absolute ignorance of the artistic master- 
pieces of the world, the statues, the paintings, the palaces, 
the cathedrals that have been held sacred by successive 
generations of men — is not easy. Some explanation, therefore, 
of the service of the artist to society is necessary to enforce 
his value in a new community, side by side with other 
recognised ministrants to social needs. 

Generally speaking, Art is a distinct language, a language 
of outward images, by which the character of human emotion 
in the service of the ideal is conveyed from mind to mind 
better than can be done with words ;* while the artist is 
the psychologist who, possessing a keen insight into emotional 
causes and effects, reproduces these in material or visible 
form. Endowed with acute sensibilities and with that subtle 
perspicacity which detects the spirit under the form, studying 
shades and meaning of emotion in the countenances and 
actions of humanity, observing the special traits which denote, 
for example, vulgarity or nobleness of character — honest 
brutes, as in the boors of Teniers, or commonplace beings 
as portrayed by other masters of the Dutch school ; again, 

* Horace says, ' That which is transmitted through the ear arouses thought 
less vividly than that which is placed directly before the eye.' 


sublime despondency as in the sculpture of Michael Angelo, 
rapt adoration as in the saints and angels of Fra Angelico, 
beauty and purity of feeling as in the Madonnas of Raphael 
— obtaining his subjects from history, from real life, or 
inventing figures which translate his perceptions — the artist 
' holds the mirror up to nature,' and satisfies ideal longings 
objectively for which ordinary language is inadequate. His 
qualifications for this service are simply sensuous impressions 
combined with intellectual and emotional sagacity not found 
in men of other pursuits. Hence the function of the Artist. 

We have now to see in what sense he is equally necessary 
with other labourers in society devoted to its common wants. 
The main condition of the artist's existence in a community 
is the public demand for his work. In this respect there 
is no difference between the artist and any other man who 
labours for the common weal. The man who paints, models 
a statue, composes music, sings an opera, or writes out his 
thought for a living, is, as far as his labour is concerned, on 
a par with the farmer who tills the ground, the mechanic 
who works at a trade, the merchant, the doctor, the lawyer, 
the engineer, or the navigator, all of whose talents respond 
to common social necessities. As with them, the greater the 
demand for the artist's labour, the more does he improve in 
skill and capacity. The only difference between their work 
and his is this : that while the farmer, mechanic, lawyer, 
physician, engineer, and navigator, labour chiefly in behalf of 
the material wants of a community, the artist labours in 
behalf of its ideal wants, for the cravings of the imagination 
due to emotions, sentiments, sympathies, and aspirations. 
That these cravings must be satisfied to an equal extent 


with real or material wants it is needless to emphasise, as 
human experience from the earliest ages gives it proof. The 
ever-recurring recognition and maintenance of the artist in 
society, therefore, is the sign of his utility. A few illustra- 
tions of this psychological and artistic development in the 
past will make this point more fully comprehensible. 

Take, for example, the strongest emotion that stirs the 
human breast, the religious sentiment. At the dawn of 
civilisation, humanity strives to divinise the mysterious forces 
of life and nature, which are rudely recognised as favouring 
or thwarting human energies. In Egypt, for instance, divine 
power incarnated in every familiar living creature is 
symbolised by images of man himself, of animals, birds, 
reptiles, and insects, just as the Egyptian conceives their 
relative power and influence upon him for good or for ill, 
before and after death. Images of gods of divers shapes 
abound in this sense, from the smallest to the most gigantic, 
from the little scarabasus * to the colossi of Memnon, all of 
religious significance and in hierarchical order according to the 
kind of force which excites general awe and reverence. The 
more mysterious the force, the more colossal the symbol. 
The hieroglyphic language of Egypt is that of images. The 
Egyptian, indeed, seems incapable of entertaining an 
immaterial idea; images of gods — symbols of all sorts of 
abstract conceptions in which the faintest analogies of organic 
life, human, animal, reptile, and insect are traceable — surround 
him at all times, out of doors, in his home, at his meals, 

* 'La perpetuite des transformations etait a tout instant rappelee a l'esprit par 
le scarabee, l'hieroglyphe du devenir, l'amulette par excellence, reproduit a million 
d'exemplaires.' — Le Pantheon Egyptien, by Pierret. 



in the tomb, ever present as the visible substance of his 

The same instincts and motives animated the Greeks, but on 
a higher plane of civilisation. The Greeks, far more advanced 
in personal culture and in social experience, more refined in 
every way, more delicate and subtle in their perceptions, with 
greater sensibility and capacity for life's enjoyments, more moral 
and more in harmony with the world in which they lived, 
personified at first divine origins in the elements, and afterwards, 
not alone the functions of animals, as with ' the Egyptians, but 
human energies, intellect, and virtues, as these became revealed 
by superior social and political attrition. Chronos, Saturn, the 
Titans, and other deities, symbolised creative forces, and con- 
stituted the rude deities of primitive times ; * in their wake, as 
Greek society progressed morally and intellectually, the Olympian 
deities — Zeus, Here, Ares, Hermes, Poseidon, Athene, Aphrodite, 
Artemis, and the rest — bear witness to the keen insight of the 
Greeks into mental and ethical phenomena. Perhaps no more 
striking example of Greek genius in this respect can be furnished 
than the nice distinction of meaning by form in the statues of 
the wise Athene, the voluptuous Aphrodite, and the chaste 
Artemis, all female divinities, symbolising so many special 
attributes of woman observed in the complexities of her life 
and nature. 

The art of the Romans, as far as religious emotion is con- 
cerned, is substantially that of the Greeks ; their original art 

* ' C'est au statuaire que revient le soin de conserver les types religieux. . . . 
L'humanisation de l'ideal s'est faite surtout par ses mains ; pendant plusieurs 
siecles, la sculpture a ete un enseignement theologique.' — Philosophic de F Archi- 
tecture en Grece, by E. Boutmy. 


is represented chiefly by monuments like the Colosseum, theatres, 
and immense baths, revealing through architecture the nature 
of Roman habits and amusements. 

On the advent of Christianity, the attributes of the Redeemer 
found artistic expression in allegorical symbolry, soon followed 
by His personification in mosaic. At length, as society became 
more refined, more humane, chiefly through the growth of 
respect for woman, accompanied by the protection afforded 
her by the Church, the Madonna appeared in art, symbolising 
another ideal attribute of the sex than the more material one 
which prevailed in antiquity. Next came artistic representations 
of the experiences, trials, sufferings, and exploits of the ' noble 
army of saints and martyrs,' which in fresco, on the walls of 
churches, in countless statues and bas-reliefs outside on church 
doors and pinnacles, impress on the popular mind ideas of new 
virtues, new traits of human character unknown in bygone ages. 
All these forms, figures, and architectural structures, due to 
religious sentiment and constituting the plastic language of a 
new faith, attest the utility of the artist in mediaeval society. 

The almost exclusive monopoly of art by the religious 
sentiment begins to give way in the Renaissance epoch. Other 
human emotions now stimulate artistic effort. Portraiture, 
indicative of admiration or reverence for eminent men and of 
beautiful or distinguished women, gains ground. Allegorical 
art, sculptural and pictorial on a large scale, embodies a multi- 
tude of subjects representing ideals of power, conquest, glory, 
and other civilising influences, in antique and modern designs 
— the vast gardens, fountains, palaces, and other insignia of 
monarchical grandeur that now render Rome, Florence, Venice, 
and Versailles famous through the works of Giotto, Raphael, 


Paul Veronese, Bramante, Rubens, Le Brun, Le Notre, and a 
host of other capable artists. European art, again, becomes 
differentiated under the title of Schools, mostly national, the 
title originating in technical peculiarities, such as drawing or 
colour, and, again, of sentiment. The Dutch school of art, 
a type of this differentiation in contrast with that of Italy, 
becomes prominent, arising out of local, social, and domestic 
life, with all its commonplace surroundings. ' It exacts and 
provokes the representation of man as he is, and life as it is, 
both as the eye encounters them — citizens, peasants, cattle, 

shops, taverns, rooms, streets, and landscapes Nature, in 

herself, whatever she may be, whether human, animal, vegetable, 
or inanimate, with all her irregularities, minutias, and omissions, 
is inherently right, and, when comprehended, people love and 
delight to contemplate her. The object of art is not to change 
nature, but to interpret her.' * As has been well said, ' Why 
should not these pictures, a special idea of life and society, 
one of the great historic ideas of humanity, be considered 

History thus verifies the utility of the artist in the practical 
sense in which the utility of other ministrants to social needs 
is understood. The artists of all time, in employing the forms 
of nature to express grand ideas, have ever been mindful of the 
faculties of the people for whom they laboured; natural objects 
have been depicted by them in accordance with visual laws 
common to everybody. Sensibility of the eye to outward objects 
with reference to form and colour, coupled with a ready compre- 
hension of their artistic purpose, have at all times been understood 

* Art in the Netherlands, by H. Taine. 
■j" Sydney Smith, by Andre Chevrillon. 


alike by both artist and observer ; the sole difference between 
them is greater or less delicacy of perception and greater or less 
refinement of feeling in detecting the significance of an object 
chosen to interpret an idea. Artists in the past have never 
entertained or had their minds swayed by subtle theories of 
colour and light like those now current. Never have the great 
masters sacrificed the spirit of a subject to mere technical display. 
Half-way art — the forced concord of pigments in semi-obscurity, 
literal imitation, and the grouping of objects without sentiment 
or beauty, the shirking of drawing, incomplete detail on account 
of decorative position— never absorbed their thought or guided 
their brush. Egyptian, Grecian, Mediaeval, Renaissance, and 
Dutch art, the works of the past which still excite undying 
admiration, mean the same to us as to bygone generations, 
because we see nature the same as the artists who painted them. 
In recognising the integrity of past art, would we not do well to 
follow such examples, and keep art from degenerating into mere 
technical bravura? 



Dunlap offers a Commission — Various Portraits Engraved — Clergymen, Patriots, 
Actors, and Physicians — The 'Annual' — Foreign Reputation of American 
Artists — Exhibitions — Rise of Art Institutions — The Press — Letter of James 
Fennimore Cooper — Collection of Philip Hone — Michael Paff — Fashion in 

SOME time before Colonel Trumbull had engaged my 
father to engrave the ' Declaration of Independence,' 
Mr. Dunlap, author of the History of the Progress of 
the Arts of Design in the United States, had noticed his talent, 
and sent him the following letter: — 

'Mr. Durand, ' Norfolk, December 24, 1819. 

Sir, — By an arrangement with Bishop Moore, I am to paint 
his portrait in Richmond. I am induced to believe that a very great 
subscription can be obtained for a print representing this popular gentleman 
in this State alone, and important additions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, 
and New York. In this State I am assured of active agency for this 
purpose. Now, Sir, the object of this letter is to ask you if you will 
engage in the scheme of publishing such a portrait, and share with me in 
the proceeds. If you are willing, the next question is, on what terms ? 
I will deliver the portrait to you in New York next spring. In the 
meantime I will procure subscribers in Virginia, and on my route home- 
ward in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, &c. The size which has 
been mentioned is that of" Bishop White." At what price ought such a 
portrait to be sold or delivered to subscribers ? How many inches is that 
print ? Your answers to these queries, and any other information on the 
subject, addressed to me in Norfolk will, in case I have gone to Richmond, 
follow me, and I shall be guided by the receipt of your letter. 

' I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, 

« W. Dunlap.' 


The proposal was never entertained, probably because the 
engraver would take no speculative risk in the matter. 

As has been already stated, the ' Declaration of Independence,' 
representing a group of patriots well known to the people of the 
country, is the first production of my father's burin which 
ensured his professional reputation. This engraving was too 
large, however, to suit the popular purse. During the progress 
of the work, Colonel Trumbull personally solicited subscrip- 
tions ; he was obliged also to mortgage the plate while in my 
father's hands, and never, probably, was fully remunerated by 
the sale of its impressions. Engravings of the same character 
followed immediately : ' Oliver Wolcott,' Governor of Con- 
necticut, and, at a later period, a series of portraits of national 
celebrities. Meanwhile his graver was busy with the portraits 
of divines. ' Why do you not engrave the ministers ? ' said one 
of his friends to him ; ' they'll sell like hot cakes.' Conspicuous 
amongst these in size, as well as in the reputation of the subject, 
were ' Rev. John M. Mason,' the ' theological thunderbolt of the 
times,' and ' Rev. John Summerfield,' distinguished for eloquence, 
and particularly for success at revivals in touching the conscience 
of his hearers. Next after these came the portraits of ' Rev. Dr. 
Milledoler,' President of Rutgers College, ' Rev. James Milnor,' 
'Rev. Gardner Spring,' and ' Rev. Samuel H. Cox,' also 'Judge 
Elias Boudinot,' President of the Bible Society, belonging to the 
same category, all of New York ; ' Rev. Eliphalet Nott,' Presi- 
dent of Union College, Schenectady ; ' ' Rev. Dr. Sprague ' of 
Albany ; ' Rev. Dr. Dalcho ' of South Carolina, well-known 
pastors enjoying local fame and still in repute as men of ability. 
' This,' said Mr. Durand, ' was the most humiliating work I ever 
did. I used to get them up in conjunction with the painter, 


The general public would not buy them, so we had to appeal 
to the ministers and the congregations ; and hawking them about 
in this way, by personal appeals, I barely made a living by 
engraving them.'* 

Following these came portraits of eminent patriots of the 
Revolution, statesmen and military heroes, most of which were 
engraved for the National Portrait Gallery, successfully published 
by James Herring of Philadelphia. We here find ' Washington,' 
twice engraved by my father after portraits painted respectively 
by Trumbull and Stuart ; ' John Marshall,' first Chief Justice of 
the U.S. Supreme Court ; 'Charles Carrol of Carrolton,' one of 
the signers of the Declaration of Independence ; ' John Trum- 
bull,' painter, aide-de-camp of General Washington, and diplomat 
(who gave my father sittings during the progress of the work) ; 
' James Kent,' Chancellor and jurist ; ' Gilbert Stuart,' the artist ; 
' Aaron Ogden,' Governor of New Jersey, after a portrait made 
by the engraver; 'Dewitt Clinton,' 'Alexander Hamilton,' and 
many others of similar consideration. For this class of works 
he was amply compensated. Two large engravings — ' General 
Jackson,' full length, after a picture by Vanderlyn ; ' John 
Quincy Adams,' after a portrait by Sully — a head of ' Craw- 
ford ' and one of ' David Crockett,' are of special interest 
in this series of subjects. On the completion of the Erie 
Canal, the Common Council of New York celebrated the 
event and published a commemorative volume, for which my 
father engraved the portraits of two eminent New York 
citizens — ' Philip Hone ' and ' William Paulding,' the latter 
after his own drawing. 

* From 'Asher Brown Durand,' an article by Barnet Phillips, published in 
the New York Times. 


The next series of portraits produced by him in conformity 
with public taste consists of several popular actors and 
actresses, eminent in their profession, and engraved for a 
serial publication under the auspices of Mr. Francis C. Wemyss, 
of Philadelphia :—< Cowell,' 'Hilson,' 'Mrs. Hilson,' 'Duff,' 
' Barnes,' ' Mrs. Barnes,' ' Forrest,' and ' Macready ; ' ' Hackett,' 
for George P. Morris, editor of the New York Mirror; and 
' George Jones,' afterwards the Count Joannes, at his own 
expense. After these follow a group of physicians belonging 
to New York and Philadelphia : ' Thomas Cooper,' ' Philip 
S. Physick,' ' David Hosack,' ' S. L. M. Mitchell,' and < Valen- 
tine Mott.' Other distinguished persons further illustrate 
the public taste for art : ' Noah Webster,' the lexicographer ; 
' Lindley Murray,' the grammarian ; ' Robert C. Sands,' poet, 
publicist, and humorist ; ' Anna Braithewaite,' a religious 
enthusiast ; and ' Catherine M. Sedgwick,' author of Hope 
Leslie. Certain individuals, ambitious of immortality at the 
hands of engraving, employed my father at their own cost : 
' Garrit Furman,' who wrote and published amateur poetry ; 
' Rem Rapelje,' a ' worthy burgher ' and author of personal 
memoirs full of amusing egotism ; and ' William Fuller,' a 
noted gymnast and professor of pugilism, delineated by C. C. 
Ingham at full length in the ' manly art of self-defence.' 
Classified by number and title, these heads consist of thirty- 
two portraits of clergymen, twenty-three portraits of patriots 
and statesmen, ten of actors, seven of physicians, and several 
of men and women unknown to fame, claiming public recogni- 
tion in their own way. Embracing, as this classification does, a 
greater variety of notable characters than can be found in the 
works of any contemporary artist, we can form a tolerably 


clear idea of the sentiments that inspired public taste for art 
and encouraged the growth of art in the community. In 
sum, the public esteemed the portraits of men who ministered 
to its religious and moral cravings, its patriotism, its amuse- 
ments, its health, and its literary and other tastes, such as they 
were. In this respect the American community awards honours 
through art much in the same sense as the Greeks, who first 
immortalised their gods, goddesses, and heroes by statues, and 
after these in a kindred spirit their statesmen, physicians, 
gymnasts, and philosophers. 

But a taste for art in the American community, as far as 
this is exemplified by engraving, was not fostered alone by 
that particular branch. Publications arose which involved 
the use of painting, in which the talent of native artists 
found proper appreciation. Foremost among these at this 
period was the 'Annual/ a publication originating in England, 
the object of which was to supply the public with a gift-book 
for the Christmas and New Year holidays — a book of poetry, 
prose, verse and tale, by known local writers, and illustrated 
by native artists, the model of which is the ' Keepsake.' Thus 
far, in America, public taste for illustrations (as nowadays 
exemplified by monthly magazines, of which the Annual is 
the precursor) had been confined to editions of the English 
poets, containing a few line and stipple engravings copied 
from English originals, such as those executed by my father 
during his apprenticeship, and afterwards by Pekenino; as yet, 
no publication in general circulation afforded popular illustra- 
tions of ideas and sentiments growing out of the real drama 
and romance of life, actual and historic, then stimulated to 
such an extraordinary degree by the works of Walter Scott. 


Native resources in literature and art accordingly came in 
play, the result of which was the American Annual. Our 
best writers of that day — Bryant, Halleck, Irving, Verplanck, 
Sands, and the rest — together with our best painters and 
engravers — Morse, Inman, Cole, Doughty, Weir, Ingham, 
Danforth, Cheney, Smillie, and others — contributed to it with 
enthusiasm. The most prominent annuals were the Atlantic 
Souvenir ; the Gift, published at Philadelphia ; the Token, 
published in Boston ; and the Talisman, published in New 
York — all proving of great service in rendering art popular, 
and especially in the development of native talent. My father 
contributed largely, his graver being in constant demand for 
Annuals so long as he remained in the profession. His 
principal works in this line are as follows : ' The Greek Boy,' 
a portrait by R. W. Weir, of young Evangelides, then a 
student in Columbia College ; ' The Sisters ' and ' The Wife,' 
after compositions by Morse ; ' The Ghost of Darius ' and 
' The Bride of Lammermoor,' after pictures by Inman ; ' The 
Power of Love,' after an old painting, artist unknown ; ' The 
Dull Lecture,' after a picture by Stuart Newton ; ' The 
Gipsying Party,' ' Sancho Panza and the Duchess,' ' Anne 
Page, Slender, and Shallow,' after compositions by Leslie ; 
' The White Plume,' an ideal head by Ingham ; and a frontis- 
piece to the Atlantic Souvenir after his own design. Most 
of these subjects, it must be noted, appeal to domestic senti- 
ment, and all are within the scope of American imagination. 

The correspondence of my father with Messrs. Cary & Lea, 
publishers of the Atlantic Souvenir, indicate the spirit in which 
the Annual was edited, as well as their appreciation of the talent 
and judgment of the engraver. In one of their letters, Mr. Cary 


recommends him to correct the drawing of a certain figure — 
which he often had to do in the works of other artists. In 
another, he is requested to examine the collection of Joseph 
Bonaparte, Count Survilliers, at Bordentown, New Jersey, in 
order to find desirable subjects to engrave. Again, Mr. Cary 
says, ' We have received from London a very fine portrait of 
Tintoretto's mistress, of which you might make a beautiful 

illustration for our book I should like to see your graver 

employed on a handsome female head, as I am sure that you 
would make something to please the nation.' Whatever this 
portrait may have been, it is probable that it was not engraved 
on account of its title, which would have been out of place and 
objectionable in a book circulating so largely in the family circle. 
In another letter Mr. Cary says, ' You mention a picture of 
Inman's ; as we desire to make the work as American as we 
can, keep your eye on it.' 

Public taste for art, again, had developed unconsciously 
through the experiences and fame of American artists outside 
of their country, the same as its literary taste had improved 
through foreign admiration of Irving and Cooper. Allston, 
Malbone, and Morse, contemporaries of these honoured writers, 
had begun their careers in Charleston, South Carolina, where art, 
at this time apparently better understood than in the North, 
found a liberal patronage that enabled these artists to pursue 
their studies and find appreciators in England.* Vanderlyn, 

* It is worth noting that Inman, in 1835, painted 'The Bride of Lammer- 
moor ' for Mr. Hugh Swinton Ball, of South Carolina. ' The Bloody Hand,' by 
Washington Allston, was likewise possessed by an American of that State. 
'Charleston is said, of all the American towns, to have approached (in 1774) 
most nearly to the social refinement of a great European capital.' — Lecky, History 
of England in the Eighteenth Century, vol. iii., page 289. 


through the encouragement of Aaron Burr, accompanied them, 
and was able to study and obtain honours in France. The 
recognition of the works of these artists in Europe reflected 
honour on American talent. Allston, like West, would probably 
have become President of the Royal Academy had he remained 
in England. Morse, on his return, brought his knowledge to 
bear, and wrote and lectured on art. 

Meanwhile, unable to live and study abroad, a few self- 
taught painters were groping their way at home with marked 
success in new directions. Doughty, Cole, Fisher, Hoyle, and 
others, inspired by the beauty of local scenery and its associations, 
painted landscapes of decided merit. Dunlap had exhibited 
about the country his ' Christ Rejected,' a very large canvas, 
poor as art, but well calculated, on account of its size and 
subject, to impress the popular mind. Ingham painted ideal 
heads, and likewise Weir, together with historical composi- 
tions. Inman produced figure subjects, establishing his capacity 
in the higher range of art ; while, at the close of this period, 
Mount, prompted by his love of humour, came on the 
stage and admirably treated the comic side of American rural 
life by portraying the droll characters he found on Long 
Island. Works by all these artists were engraved for the 

Other agencies quickened the public taste. Institutions for 
art arose side by side with those devoted to social needs, and 
first, 'The American Academy of Fine Arts' in New York, 
founded at the instigation of Trumbull, as already mentioned, 
projected in 1802 and chartered in 1808; next, 'The Penn- 
sylvania Academy of the Fine Arts ' at Philadelphia, chartered 
in 1805 — both under the control of laymen. 'This latter 


institution,' says Dunlap, ' owes its origin to a few gentlemen 
in Philadelphia — seven lawyers, one carver, two physicians, one 
auctioneer, one wine merchant, and one painter.' More 
important than these, however, was the ' National Academy 
of Design,' and the most conspicuous, because managed by 
artists themselves, naturally the most competent to regulate 
their own interests ; this institution, moreover, furnished the 
public with periodical exhibitions, giving to it, as it were, an 
annual report of local progress in art, as well as a novel and 
favourite entertainment hitherto unknown. 

Exhibitions, which are the most potent of all agencies in 
developing public taste, merit extended notice. Dunlap states 
that the first exhibition in the country, got up by a small 
group of artists in Philadelphia, 'was opened this year (1794) 
in that celebrated hall where the Declaration of Independence 
was determined upon and proclaimed. The pictures were 
borrowed from the citizens. This association of artists, of 
whose names I find only Charles Wilson Peale, Joseph Ceracchi, 
and William Rush, held their meetings at the house of Mr. 
Peale. Some other artists, and Ceracchi at their head, separated 
from the " Columbianum " (the title of their projected insti- 
tution), and after the first exhibition it died. Ten years after 
Mr. Peak's first attempt, some of the most enlightened citizens 
of New York (1802), with a view to raising the character of 
their countrymen by increasing their knowledge and taste, 
associated for the purpose of introducing casts from the antique 
into the country. These worthy citizens, though none of them 
artists, called themselves " The American Academy of Fine 
Arts."' The casts were purchased by the American minister 
at Paris, Robert R. Livingston. 'When these casts,' says 


Dunlap, ' arrived in New York, a building on the west side 
of Greenwich Street, which had been erected for a circus or 
riding-school, was hired, and the statuary opened for exhibition. 
This did not attract much attention, and, the funds of the 
society suffering, the casts were packed up and stored. After 
the charter was granted (1808), the use of the upper part of 
a building, once intended as a house for the President of the 
United States, but occupied as the Custom House, was loaned 
to the Academy, and the casts removed thither. They were 
again removed, packed up, and stored until 18 16.' To con- 
tinue chronologically: 'In 1805, Jos. Hopkinson, Esq.,' Dunlap 
further adds, ' stimulated by a view of the casts executed in 
Paris after the antique, which were in the possession of the 
New York Academy, and by his own taste and patriotism, 
proposed to several gentlemen of Philadelphia the establishment 
of a similar institution.' In 18 10, says Dunlap, this was done 
under the name of ' The Society of Artists of the United 
States.' Early in 18 n 'the first exhibition took place, and 
an address was made by Benj. H. Latrobe.' The 'Society of 
Artists,' a rival of the ' Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine 
Arts,' was finally dissolved, and the field left clear in Phila- 
delphia to this latter institution. 

Of the press in these days as a fostering agent of native 
art not much can be said. The New York Mirror, devoted 
to belles-lettres, furnished its subscribers occasionally with 
engraved portraits, and Dunlap, its art critic, reviewed the 
annual displays of the National Academy of Design in a dry, 
perfunctory manner. Whatever space in its columns was 
otherwise allowed to art, it was generally absorbed by the 
' Old Masters.' Occasional correspondence, however, in the 


daily journals shows the expanding taste for art. The following 
letter by J. Fennimore Cooper, cited by Dunlap, although long, 
merits a place here, inasmuch as it shows the superior intelli- 
gence of its famous writer, as well as the beginning of American 
development of sculpture in the advent of Horatio Greenough. 
The letter is dated at Dresden, July 29, 1830. 

' Most of our people who come to Italy employ the artists of the 
country to make copies, under the impression that they will be both 
cheaper and better than those done by Americans studying there. My 
own observation has led me to adopt a different course. I am well 
assured that few things are done for us by Europeans under the same 
sense of responsibility as when they work for customers nearer home. 
The very occupation of the copyist infers some want of that original 
capacity, without which no man can impart to a work, however exact it 
may be in its mechanical details, the charm of expression. In the case of 
Mr. Greenough, I was led even to try the experiment of an original. 
The difference in value between an original and a copy is so greatly in 
favour of the former, with anything like an approach to success, that I am 
surprised more of our amateurs are not induced to command them. The 
little group I have sent home will always have an interest that can belong 
to no other work of the same character. It is the first effort of a young 
artist, who bids fair to build for himself a name, and whose life will be 
connected with the history of the art in that country which is so soon to 
occupy such a place in the world. It is more : it is probably the first 
group ever completed by an American sculptor. 

1 The subject is taken from a picture in the Pitti Palace at Florence, 
and which is well known as " La Madonna del Trono." The picture is 
said to be by Raphael, though some pretend to see the work of one of his 
scholars in the principal figure. The Virgin is seated on a throne, and 
the principal subject is relieved, according to the fashion of the day, by 
cherubim and angels, represented as singing or sounding the praise of the 
Infant. We selected two little cherubs, or rather two infant angels, who 
are standing at the foot of the throne, singing from a scroll, to be transferred 
to the marble. They are as large as life, if one may use the term on such 


an occasion, and are beautifully expressive of that infantine grace and 
innocence which painters love to embody in those imaginary beings. 

' I left Florence for Naples before the work had been commenced in 
marble, and can only speak of it as I saw it in the plaster. In that state 
it was beautiful, and I can safely say that all the time I was in Italy I saw 
no modern work of the same character that gave me so much pleasure on 
account of the effect. It was universally admired, and really, I think, it 
deserved to be so. 

' In the picture, these angels were accessories, and when they came to 
be principals, it was necessary to alter their attitudes. Then the painter 
could give but half the subject, whereas the sculptor was obliged to give 
all. Again, the former artist was able to produce his effect by the use 
of colours ; while the latter, as you well know, is limited to lights and 
shades. Owing to these differences between the means and the effects of 
the two arts, Mr. Greenough had but little more aid from the original 
than he derived from the idea. Perhaps the authority of Raphael was 
necessary to render such a representation of the subject palatable in our 

' I think you will be delighted with the expression of the youngest of 
these two imaginary beings. It is that of innocence itself, while it is an 
innocence superior to the feebleness of childhood. It represents rather the 
want of the inclination than of the ability to err, a poetical delineation of 
his subjects in which Raphael greatly excelled, and which, in this instance, 
has been certainly transferred to the marble with singular fidelity and 

' Agreeably to the conditions of our bargain, Mr. Greenough has the 

right to exhibit this little group for his own benefit. I hope that the 

peculiarity of its being the first work of the kind which has come from an 

American chisel, as well as the rare merit of the artist, will be found to 

interest the public at home. . -r 7 , 

r ' Yours truly, 

' J. Fennimore Cooper.' 

In the way of private collections of paintings, that of Philip 
Hone, of New York, in which native art was dominant, is 
the most remarkable. It contained ' The Greek Boy,' by R. 



W. Weir ; ' The Delaware Water Gap,' by Doughty ; two 
small landscapes, ' Falls of the Kaaterskill,' and ' Still Lake,' 
in the Catskill Mountains ; two portraits, ' Lafayette ' and 
' Kent,' by Moore ; a landscape by Hoyle ; portrait of ' Dewitt 
Clinton,' by Ingham ; with water-colour drawings by W. J. 
Bennett and Wall. This collection also contained the fine 
picture by Leslie of 'Anne Page, Slender, and Shallow,' now 
unfortunately in England, and ' The Dull Lecture,' by Stuart 
Newton, now in the Lenox Gallery, New York. 

Only one more agency, conspicuous in the modern develop- 
ment of art, remains to be noticed — the Picture Dealer, a natural 
product of the commercial spirit, and a proof that art at this 
epoch had got to be of some consequence. This social 
ministrant to the public taste of the day is ' Michael PafF, Esq., 
an industrious and successful collector of paintings,' as he is 
called by Dunlap. His specialty was, of course, the ' Old 
Masters.' When any works of art of native origin were 
offered for sale, it may be said, in passing, they were generally 
found in the shops of frame-makers. One of PafF's treasures, 
a small ' Last Supper by Michael Angelo,' which the writer 
remembers to have seen at auction under the superintendence of 
its owner, was claimed to be original by PafF, because, on the 
pavement of the room in which this scene is represented, a 
line of stones equal in number to the letters of the name, stood 
for Buonarotti. It is needless to say that PafF proved the 
authenticity of other originals by similar evidence. But as 
' Michael PafF, Esq.,' will appear again in these pages, he is 
dropped for the present. 

Last of all these agencies comes Fashion, the fickle goddess. 
Being an important factor in the art history of all times and 


countries, she claims consideration. Two phenomena in all 
lands attest the influence of Fashion on the development of 
Art : one, an appreciation of foreign art at the expense of 
native art ; and the other, diverse popular theories of art which 
arrest or pervert the natural taste for it. In ancient Rome, 
for example, Greek art and artists were ever in fashion. But 
we need not go so far back— take Italy in the Renaissance 
epoch, where the taste for art, outside of ecclesiastical authority, 
was governed by the fashion for the antique. Early in the 
eighteenth century, Claude Lorraine, Poussin, and Le Brun, 
born in France, went to Italy (as afterwards West, Leslie, and 
Trumbull, born on the American soil, went to England), to 
study and practise art. The Italian school was fashionable in 
France for nearly the whole of the eighteenth century, until 
Diderot inspired the French public with the merits of local 
artists, thus bringing the native school into favour. We know 
the tyranny of the ' David ' school under the Empire, born of a 
Roman sentiment, and which impeded the growth of domestic 
sentiment in art inaugurated by Greuze. In England, near the 
close of the last century — where Richard Wilson, its great land- 
scapist, lived, like Shakespeare, scarcely known to his generation, 
except by his peers — the fashion for ' Old Masters ' prevailed until 
Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Hogarth became glories of the 
nation, and enabled the British school of art to be established in 
the present century. What could infant America do — a colonial 
dependence of England, using the same language, taught by its 
thinkers, and imitating its customs — but remain artistically in the 
orthodox fashion ? ' Old Masters,' of course, became its accepted 
standards ; its first lisps in art culture were in honour of their 
works, or those supposed to be such ; the sanction of amateur- 


ship consisted in the admiration or possession of some old canvas 
claimed to have come from the hands of Raphael, Michael 
Angelo, or Correggio. Such is fashion in art. Next in order 
come one-sided views and standards of excellence, based on 
theories more or less crude or ingenious growing out of techni- 
calities, colouring, and drawing. Conspicuous among these are 
undue admiration of ' pre-Raphaelites,' on account of superior 
c earnestness ; ' Impressionism, a reaction against excessive de- 
tail, equally as misguiding as the opposite extreme;* decora- 
tive distinctions that serve as mere screens for carelessness, 
indisposition to study, and inadequate labour ; and personal 
ascetic preferences, all of which more or less mislead and pervert 
the public intellect. But as fashion in art will be further illus- 
trated, I pass on to other signs and means of native art 

* A distinguished explorer of Africa, M. Mizon, on his return to France, 
brought with him a young negress, twelve years of age, called Sanabon, who 
became for a time quite a favourite in society. One day she was taken to see 
pictures in the Goupil gallery, containing works depicting various subjects. On 
being asked what she saw, she readily and correctly replied trees, men, and 
animals, as these happened to be noticeable on the canvas. In an adjoining room 
were the works of an 'Impressionist.' Led to one of these placed on an easel 
and being asked the same question, she hesitated a long time ; she walked up to 
the picture and looked behind it, and finally urged to answer, she replied, ' It is a 
horse.' The intention of the artist was to represent the margin of a pool, where 
a woman was washing clothes, with a child standing alongside of her. 

6 9 


Engraving for Business Purposes — Hatters' Cards, Lottery Tickets, Diplomas, 
Ball Tickets, and Horses — Bank-note Engraving — Drawings of Vignettes — 
The American Landscape — Prospectus by Bryant — James Smillie — ■' Musidora ' 
and 'Ariadne.' 


OWEVER dignified or exalted a public individual 
may be, however refined the process by which art 
renders the character or beauty of a given subject, 
both are sure to be pressed into the service of business and 
p^lf. For example, the first international exhibition held in 
New York displayed busts of Washington and Henry 
Clay in white soap, while, if I am not mistaken, the 
same exhibition contained a Scripture subject in bas-relief, 
including a figure of the Saviour, modelled in butter, and 
claiming position as a work of art. In the Paris International 
Exhibition of 1868, to which Americans contributed, the Presi- 
dent of an establishment in our country devoted to bank-note 
engraving and printing, incensed at the non-admission of his 
manufacture among the fine - art productions of the world, 
threatened the direst consequences. My father's work had not 
been long before the public before his graver was called upon 
in analogous directions. Applications were soon made to him 
for business cards. ' As our American artist had to cater to 
commercial wants, so had Hogarth in his time. Here is a card 
of Theodore Clark, " Hat-maker, corner of Chatham and Pearl 
Streets," and one of "J. Wilson, superior beaver hat, 160 


Broadway, N.Y.," with particular instructions, carefully printed, 
how to take care of a beaver hat in case it got wet in a rain- 
storm.'* Then followed lottery tickets, diplomas, ball tickets, 
and engravings of horses. A case of the latter kind resulted in 
full-length portraits of two famous racers, ' Eclipse ' and ' Lady 
Lightfoot.' But the most striking as well as worthy employ- 
ment of his burin in this sense was bank-note engraving, 
already a prosperous business on account of the superior quality 
of its processes, by which counterfeiting is rendered at least 
difficult. The antecedent experience of the country with con- 
tinental money rendered a new style of engraved currency 
imperative, and henceforth a rapid development of bank-note 
engraving. Much of the engraver's time, consequently, during 
this period was devoted to this occupation. What qualified 
him for it was not alone mere technical skill, but his ability in 
composing and drawing suitable designs, called vignettes. Again, 
his elder brother, Cyrus Durand, possessing rare mechanical genius, 
had invented a geometrical lathe by which complicated linear 
designs for bank-notes were produced, so delicate and intricate 
that counterfeiting was supposed to be rendered nearly impossible. 
The two brothers, accordingly, were induced by a competent 
business man to form a co-partnership, under the title of 
A. B. & C. Durand & Co. (1824). The work of the firm 
soon surpassed that of similar establishments. All that is here 
necessary to state, in connexion with art, is that the vignettes 
executed by my father gave fresh impulse to the business. Their 
subjects, consisting of drawings of antique figures associated with 
well-known American personages, symbolising local institutions 
and pursuits, proved to be novel and ' taking,' as the reader 
* Asher Brown Durand, by Barnet Phillips. 

Reproduced from the Or^nal Drawings in the possession of J. Durand. 


The an 


a rain- 
itter kind resulted in 
ers, ' Eclipse ' and ' Lady- 
well as worthy employ- 
bank-note engraving, 
count of the superior quality 
rfeitina ed at least 

-ce of the nth con- 

style of engraved currency 
iopment of bank-note 

.«:.[TT5M01V >JTOVl-^A^ nsec l uentl y' durin § 
atipiv WM Qualified 

kill, but his ability in 



tie of 


is here 



.ciated with 


; ng,' as the reader 

a W 


.roved t 




may comprehend by the following examples : Neptune drawn 
by prancing horses, with a ship under full sail in the back- 
ground ; again, a stalwart mechanic, with a cogwheel at his feet, 
welcoming Neptune as he comes out of the water to greet him ; 
Archimedes on a cloud lifting the world with a lever, its fulcrum 
being a supposed American mountain peak, with a canal lock at 
its base ; a pretty female figure representing ' Justice,' a sword in 
one hand and a pair of scales in the other, with a bust of Wash- 
ington behind her on a pedestal ; Franklin, seated on a chair, in 
relief against clouds streaked with lightning, and at his feet an 
open book in which we read ' Franklin's Works : Mind your 
business ; ' a graceful female figure holding a flagon and cup, 
quenching the thirst of the American eagle ; another holding a 
torch which illuminates the globe ; Hercules slaying the Hydra ; 
also the Laocoon, of doubtful business meaning, but all in honour 
of banks and every sort of occupation. More familiar with 
antique art than any of his co-designers, his vignettes exhibit a 
wide range of fancy, with a certain degree of grace and elegance 
in the figures which, appealing to natural instincts for beauty, 
made them attractive to the most practical minds. One of my 
father's correspondents had written to him that ' Bank officers 
want something serious on their notes ; ' while another adds, 
' Bank presidents say that they have never seen anything like 
them.' The Chemical Bank of New York orders a plate with 
the portrait of Van Buren, then President of the United States, 
together with the figure of a chemist in a laboratory, both for the 
margin of a bank-note, with an eagle for the vignette ; in report- 
ing this order to my father, who was out of town, his partner 
writes that the president of the bank desires 'to have the eagle 
present a ferocious, spirited aspect ; "I want you," he says, "to tell 


Durand to give him the real steel-trap look." ' About ninety of 
the originals of these vignettes have been preserved, and whoever 
looks at them cannot but regret that delicate art of this descrip- 
tion should have been bestowed on productions of so little 
account. But they were remunerative, and may be considered 
in the same light as the fine art of old times bestowed on the 
decoration of armour, jewelry, and ecclesiastical utensils. 

In 1832 my father's interest in bank-note engraving had 
ceased. Rival companies had been organized which, rendering 
competition more and more disagreeable, and involving extra 
efforts on his part, worried him greatly. He feared the 
absorption of his energies by work he considered monotonous, 
to say nothing of the diversion from subjects for his graver 
which he preferred, like the portraits executed by him for the 
National Portrait Gallery. Moreover, in his leisure moments, 
he was constantly painting, and gradually losing a taste for 
engraving. It remains to notice only such works by him as 
denote the indifference of the public for work of a more ideal 

As early as 1830 he engaged in an enterprise — based on a 
supposed public interest in native scenery — called The American 
Landscape, intended to be a serial publication of engravings 
after pictures of well-known localities by native artists. Mr. 
Bryant furnished the descriptive text. The prospectus com- 
posed by this eminent poet is here given. It reveals the origin 
and purpose of the undertaking, as well as the illusion under 
which its projectors laboured : — 

' In a country like ours, rich in every class of natural scenery, it 
is matter of surprise that no successful effort has been made to accomplish 
a series of accurate views, so ample as to give an adequate idea of the 


Reproduced from the Original Drawings in the possession of J. Durand. 


>ok." bout ninety of 

rved, and whoever 
e art of this desc 
eductions of so little 
ad may be consid 
s bestowed 
istical utensils. 

ized which, rendt 
jvolving ext 
He feared the 
jnsidered monotor 
ubjects for his graver 
.m&MPjXi ffSQftlgfifed by him for the 

W*a.t> v, RS^ , Wnents, 

losing a taste 
ks by hini 
more i< 

based on a 

led The American 

; - ravings 

ists. Mr. 

•ctus CO 

the origin 


enery, it 
to accomplish 

a of the 




aspect of our landscapes, and so well executed as to be worthy of a place 
in the portfolio of the discerning collector. 

1 There is scarcely any part of Great Britain, or even of all Europe, 
in the least distinguished for peculiar or striking scenery which has not 
been entered by the observing artist, the numerous productions of whose 
pencil, multiplied by the assistance of the graver, have been sought for at 
home and abroad. Nature is not less liberal of the characteristics of 
beauty and sublimity in the new world, than in the old. The perception 
of her charms is not less quick and vivid among our countrymen, nor will 
we believe that there is wanting either taste to appreciate the truth and 
effect with which her features are copied, or willingness to reward those 
who execute the task with success. 

' On the contrary, the embellishments of our "Annuals " and the avidity 
with which they, as well as similar foreign publications have been sought, 
for the sake of the engravings they contain, are alone a sufficient proof 
that there is no want of competent talent among our artists, nor of taste 
in the community to ensure the most successful results to such an 

' These considerations have given confidence to the proprietors of the 
American Landscape to enter upon the present undertaking. They now 
present to the public the first number of a series of views intended to 
embrace some of the most prominent and interesting features of our 
varied scenery.' 

Only one number was published, containing six engravings, 
all by my father : ' Weehawken,' after an aquarelle by Bennett ; 
' Falls of the Sawkill,' by the same artist ; ' Winnipisiogee Lake,' 
by Cole ; ' Fort Putnam,' by R. W. Weir ; ' Catskill Mountains,' 
and ' Delaware Water Gap,' after a picture painted by the 
engraver. The undertaking proved a failure, accompanied 
with loss. The engravings, it must be noted, are inferior in 
merit to others of the same hand, especially when compared 
with the admirable productions afterwards of Mr. James Smillie, 
who, then a young man, was employed by my father to etch the 



' Fort Putnam.' In obtaining information on this point, his 
son, Mr. James B. Smillie, favours me with the following note, 
giving the only additional circumstances worth preserving in 
connexion with this abortive undertaking : — 

' The little incident in the history of our fathers, of which you asked 
me to make a note, is briefly this : My father's family left Edinburgh, 
emigrating to Quebec. About 1830 he reached New York on a voyage 
of discovery, being then in his twenty- second year. He hoped to find in 
that city a wider field for his efforts as a landscape-engraver than Quebec 
offered. An utter stranger in the place, things went hard with him. 
After two or three petty and unimportant plates, engraved for the 
book-publishers, he met Mr. Robert W. Weir, then a young man just 
returned from his art studies in Italy. Mr. Weir was interested in 
the stranger and his work, and proposed that he should make an 
engraving after one of his paintings, the print to be published as a 
joint venture. (Think of the Arcadian simplicity, the sweet faith of 
those two youths !) As my father had no place where he could work, 
Mr. Weir offered him a window and a seat in his studio in Canal Street, 
and there he engraved the plate " Convent Gate, Palestrina, near Rome." 
Of course, as a commercial speculation, the publication was a complete 
failure. My father was discouraged, home-sick, and anxious to get 
back to his mother in Quebec. Winter was near, and such a journey 
at that season promised all the rigours and hardships of a journey to 
the North Pole. Your father saw proofs of the " Convent Gate," met 
my father and asked him to engrave some plates for an illustrated serial 
then projected. The offer seemed to present the desired opening to the 
new field sought by the young Scotchman. A kindly Scotch woman 
gave him shelter in an attic bedroom somewhere in Hudson Street, 
without fire, in the month of December, where he etched the plate 
" Fort Putnam, West Point." When the proof was presented to your 
father it was accepted with flattering compliments and new commissions 
were offered, but my father could no longer restrain his impatience to be 
away. The sum of forty dollars was paid for about four weeks' work, 
which was considered magnificent by the recipient. He bought for 

< muswora: 75 

himself some needed garments and set off upon his mid-winter journey 
to Quebec, the whole distance being traversed in sleighs. This proved to 
be the opening. Another year and my father returned to New York, 
bringing his mother and younger brothers and sisters with him. From 
that time on the success of the young engraver was an assured and 
ever-growing one.' 

The remaining works of the engraver, which attest both 
the talent of the artist and the indifference of the public to 
art beyond its comprehension, are those of ' Musidora ' and 
'Ariadne,' occasionally alluded to in the preceding pages. 
These works belong to the highest aims of artistic endeavour, 
both being the fruit of the artist's admiration for the technical 
skill of the masters of engraving in the rendering of flesh. 
The former is an illustration of a fine passage in Thomson's 
Seasons : Musidora, an ideal of female loveliness, relying upon 
the privacy of a sequestered nook in the woods, divested of 
clothing and about to bathe in a pool at her feet, stands in an 
attitude of listening suspense, as if arrested by the sound of an 
intruder. The design is wholly a product of ( inner conscious- 
ness.' Lacking the technical resources of the draughtsman, his 
powers were inadequate for such a subject. Just starting in his 
career, with very little experience in drawing, coupled with the 
impossibility of finding a model for a nude figure at that time, 
the attempt was simply Quixotic. Naturally, the figure shows 
defects in proportion and what is called modelling. Neverthe- 
less, the landscape portion of the design is well executed, and 
likewise the composition and treatment of the subject — the 
attitude of the figure and its refined sentiment — two merits 
that render the work as a whole satisfactory. It is proper to 
state that, as far as remuneration for his labour is concerned^ 


not enough was obtained by the sale of impressions to pay for 
paper and printing. Subsequently, the plate was borrowed by 
the printer, and destroyed in a conflagration of his premises. 

'Ariadne,' the second attempt of the same order — from a 
masterpiece by Vanderlyn which came into my father's posses- 
sion — was more successful from an artistic point of view. 
This engraving, the merits of which are sufficiently known, was 
finished about 1835. Notwithstanding that the original paint- 
ing was always before him in his studio, he did not begin the 
work until he had made a reduced copy of it in colour of the 
size of the intended engraving, which he executed in a masterly 
manner, especially in accuracy of drawing and modelling, as well 
as in conveying the tone or effect of the original. But, as with 
the ' Musidora,' the 'Ariadne,' undertaken solely for the love of 
art, unconscious of pecuniary reward or public sympathy, was 
also, commercially speaking, a failure. The public proved 
scarcely more appreciative in the latter than in the former case. 
Amateurs of engravings alone obtained copies of it. Printing, 
an art by itself, was even then at a rudimentary stage. Skilled 
workmen could not be had. More than one-half of the 
impressions taken from the plate had to be destroyed on 
account of imperfections, while the greater part remained 
undisposed of even at the end of his career. The plate is 
now in the National Museum at the Smithsonian Institution 
in Washington. 

To complete the foregoing details of the 'Ariadne,' the 
following is added concerning the picture itself. Vanderlyn 
painted the figure in Paris, where the requisite facilities for 
executing a work of this class were readily attainable ; a 
charcoal drawing from life remains to attest these resources. 

by the 

>m a 


h are s 

him in his tlie 

!e a reduced cop\ tne 

ing, which he • masterly 

uracy of drawing and modelling, as well 
GjmfeA/--of the original. But, as with 

empathy, was 


te is 


ne,' the 


ncilities for 

y attainable ; a 

e resources. 


Of course, an engraving of a beautiful nude figure, however 
ably executed and admired, could not be sold in America at 
that time. The painter, after exhibiting ' Ariadne ' in New 
York, where no purchaser presented himself, and in need of 
money, disposed of it to my father for the sum of six hundred 
dollars. Only a recognition of the superior artistic merits of 
the work can explain an expenditure like that at this stage of 
the engraver's career ! The picture, always a ' white elephant,' 
subject above all other mishaps to that of fire, and on that 
account kept stored for years in the Historical Society building, 
fireproof, was ultimately sold at auction for five thousand dollars, 
after more than thirty years' possession. Purchased by Mr. 
Joseph Harrison of Philadelphia, his widow afterwards presented 
it to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where it 
now is. 

The foregoing details, relating to the engraving period of my 
father's life, belong to the professional side of it ; we have now 
to pass on and review during this period some of the incidents 
illustrative of his social experiences. 



Aspect of New York in this period — 'The Lunch' Club — Out-door Painting — 
Self-instruction — Affections — An Avenger of Wrong — Pseudo-reformers — 
Sylvester Graham— The ' Mad Poet,' McDonald Clarke — Pupils— The 
'Sketch Club' and its Objects — End of Engraving Career — Initiatory Efforts 
at Painting. 

THE early years of this period of my father's life may 
be styled one of natural prosperity ; he was happily 
married, and had a home of his own, the fruit of his 
talent and industry. Through an increase of income due to 
bank-note engraving, he was able in 1827 to build a house in 
Amity Street, then far up-town, to which he removed from 
the corner of Northmoore and Hudson Streets. New York 
in ten years, and notably after the completion of the Erie 
Canal, had expanded prodigiously. The hills and fields 
crossed by him in 18 17 on his way from Grand Street to 
St. Patrick's Cathedral, as mentioned in his autobiographical 
sketch, no longer existed ; the former had been levelled, and 
the ground was now covered with monotonous red-brick 
structures. In 1830, Broadway, built up to Bleecker Street, 
had become a thoroughfare traversed by omnibuses. Contoit 
had long established a fashionable garden near the corner 
of Franklin Street, in which he enjoyed a monopoly of the 
sale of ice-cream, until Niblo, in his famous garden above 
Prince Street, provided the same refreshment, together with 
concerts, and, finally, theatrical entertainments. No place had 
existed in the city where a lady on a shopping excursion 


could procure a lunch ; oyster cellars alone, below the level 
of the sidewalk, afforded this refreshment to men. At 
length, ' Thompson's,' in Broadway, below Park Place, supplied 
the ladies with a saloon where tea, sandwiches, ice-cream, 
and confectionery were to be had by anybody that appeared 
to be respectable. John Jacob Astor, in his old age, occupied 
a modest, unostentatious two-story house opposite Niblo's. 
On the south side of Lafayette Place ' the finest houses in 
the world ' were being erected, and visited on Sundays by 
admiring crowds watching their progress to completion. This 
section of the city soon became the realm of fashion : c Carroll 
Place,' ' Leroy Place,' and, later on, ' Depau Row,' made 
Bleecker Street its centre. Above Amity Street came the 
old ' Potter's Field,' the burial - place of the poor, then 
undergoing transformation into Washington Square, still 
unfenced, and with tombstones still standing there. Beyond 
the Square, on its north-eastern corner, rose a sandhill, the 
property of c Sailor's Snug Harbour,' which, soon levelled, 
gave way as usual to ' splendid ' houses, and especially to a 
line of them nicknamed ' Presbyterian Row,' because built and 
occupied by wealthy owners belonging to that Church. After 
these came scattered country houses until the House of Refuge 
was reached on what is now Madison Square, and also, 
outside its walls, another burial - ground, chiefly filled with 
the bodies of victims to the yellow fever of 1822. Such is 
a faint glimpse of the New York landmarks of this district 
in those days. Other aspects of the city at this epoch, 
vestiges of bygone characteristics, furnished by Mr. Parke 
Godwin in his Life of William Cullen Bryant, help to 
complete the picture. 


' Within the city the streets were narrow, and about as dirty as they 
have ever since remained, but they were then frequented by loose pigs, 
were badly lighted by rusty oil-lamps, and poorly watched by constables 
in huge capes and leathern caps. . . . More compact than now, the 
inhabitants were generally more intimately acquainted with one another. 
Everybody knew everybody, and everybody took part in what was going 
on. The resources of enjoyment — theatres, operas, concerts, balls, and 
excursions — were limited ; but they were open to all. Family visiting 
was common, so that it was easy to get into "society;" and the taverns 
were not so much frequented by wayfarers as by residents, to whom they 
answered the purpose of clubs and restaurants. Each of them, in fact, 
had its special circle of gossips and clever men. All the celebrities of 
the professions, the stage, or of literature were there to be met with; 
and, seated at little tables on the well-sanded floor, with pipes in their 
mouths and jugs of punch at their elbows, they discussed politics, books, 
play-actors, and the events of social life.' 

A club existed at this time, founded by Cooper, the 
novelist, bearing the title of ' The Lunch ;' the official notice 
to my father, advising him of his election into it, says, ' We 
meet at Mrs. Jones', No. 300 Broadway.' Among its members 
(mentioned by Mr. Godwin as belonging to the ' Bread-and- 
Cheese Club ') were James Kent, Thomas Addis Emmett, 
W. D. Griffin — lawyers ; Bryant, Hillhouse, Halleck, and 
Sands — poets ; and Vanderlyn, Morse, Jarvis, and Dunlap — 
artists. Jarvis's humour is said by Mr. Bryant to have been 
' irresistible,' as may well be imagined by the stories he told, 
narrated by Dunlap in his biography of that painter. 

But neither prosperity nor social privileges diverted my 
father from his professional pursuits. His leisure hours were 
devoted to drawing or to painting from nature on his 
Hoboken rambles. For this latter purpose he set his palette 
before leaving his house in the city, and carried it, with a 


home-made easel and camp-stool, to his favourite sketching- 
ground. As far as I can learn, he was the first artist in the 
country that painted direct from nature. ' Durand had been 
a pioneer in engraving ; he was now a pioneer in another 
very important branch of study, viz., that of painting care- 
fully finished studies directly from nature out-of-doors. Before 
his day our landscape-painters had usually made only pencil 
drawings, or, at most, slight water-colour memoranda of the 
scenes they intended to paint, aiding the memory by writing 
on the drawing hints of the colour and effect. Cole, to be 
sure, lived at Catskill, in full view of magnificent scenery, 
and was endowed with a wonderful memory, so that he gave 
an astonishing look of exact truth to many of his pictures 
of American scenery ; but he rarely, if at all, up to that 
period, painted his studies in the open air. Durand went 
directly to the fountain-head, and began the practice of 
faithful transcripts of " bits " for use in his studio ; and the 
indefatigable patience and the sustained ardour with which 
he painted these studies not only told on his elaborate works, 
but proved a contagious influence, since followed by most of 
our artists, to the inestimable advantage of the great land- 
scape school of our country.' * 

Other leisure hours were given as heretofore to study, 
as two volumes in manuscript of this date, entitled Anatomical 
Notes collected while attending the Lectures of Dr. Post — 
1824, bear witness; both contain careful drawings of parts 
of the human skeleton and muscular system. Another book, 
a pocket volume, contains notes on the study of facial 
expression, and still another on antique costume, the value 
* Memorial Address by D. Huntington. 



of which to him is apparent in the vignettes already 
mentioned. He regularly attended the Drawing Societies 
maintained by his professional brethren, and the American 
Academy of Fine Arts, which possessed the collection of 
casts from the antique ; also the school of the National 
Academy of Design, in which he was both pupil and teacher. 
Not a moment was lost. None of his compeers, perhaps, 
pursued the study of art technically with more ardour and 
enthusiasm. In his eagerness to profit by added resources 
of all kinds, and with a family to support, and, moreover, 
lacking that most essential of all knowledge — the economy 
of one's forces — he at last broke down ; illness ensued which, 
together with previous poor diet during his boyhood, brought 
on dyspeptic troubles that never left him. A sound con- 
stitution, however, atoned for dietetic infirmities, and this, 
with more exercise and less work, brought back health, as 
we shall see farther on. 

Meanwhile, the horizon of his prosperity became clouded. 
Trial and sorrow, that ' grief which to man is as certain 
as the grave,' overtook him. Previous to moving into his 
new house he lost his second child, and two years afterwards 
my mother declined in health, which obliged him to remove 
her to the highlands of New Jersey, and afterwards to Saint 
Augustine in Florida, where in 1830 she breathed her last. 
Her remains were brought back to her native place, Bloomfield, 
New Jersey. This affliction obliged my father to break up 
housekeeping the following year. 

An engraving executed at this time, exhibiting him as an 
avenger of wrong, may here be mentioned on account of the 
means employed, and the success attending its publication. The 


object of it was to expose a wolf in sheep's clothing, the 
person in question being a clergyman, and all the more successful 
on that account. Better educated than ordinary men, familiar 
with subtleties of sentiment unknown to other corrupters, 
insinuating, and shielded by women, especially when a foreigner, 
such an individual not only finds victims more readily, but 
generally escapes punishment merely through dread of scandal. 
An experience of this kind happening to a relative led my father 
to warn the public against this person, and, at the same time, to 
secure punishment in his own way. He thought that by en- 
graving an accurate likeness of the offender, accompanying it with 
a description of his character and career, and printing and circula- 
ting this throughout the country, it would track him wherever he 
went, and preclude further depredations. He was not mistaken, 
as we see in the following document and its effects : — 

' This portrait is published to identify the person with the true 
character of one of the Basest of Men. 

'X Y Z 

a native of England, was educated a preacher in the Methodist connexion, 
from which he was expelled for his crimes ; afterwards he became an 
outlawed swindler, fled from England, leaving a wife and children, and 
came to the United States, where he soon married again into a respectable 
family, and is extensively known as a lecturer. He is classically educated 
and, in appearance, a gentleman, but in fact a most accomplished 
hypocrite. A volunteer in falsehood, none can be too base for his 
purpose. He abandoned his second wife without cause of complaint 
(which has led to the discovery of his real character and history), has 
swindled his best friends, violated the most sacred bonds of Honour and 
Affection, and, in short, is not only an Infidel in Religion but in every 
moral principle of Society. 

'Published for the benefit of the community by A. B. Durand, 
New York, Dec. 8th, 1823.' 


Nearly six years elapsed, when its purpose was attained, as we 
see in the following letter sent from Bellevue Hospital : — 

'Mr. A. B. Durand, 

' Your revenge is complete. Hunted from Boston to New 
Orleans, from E. to W. and from N. to S. of this northern American 
continent by your persecution, I now — imbecile in mind and in body, 
little better than a skeleton, fit only for an hospital where I may be killed 
or cured — call upon you to be my friend. I know and feel that my 
constitution of body can still be renovated. I am equally certain that 
the spirit which inhabits this weak frame wants only a little time when 
again connected with a sound body to be capable of exertion, and useful to 
others and honourable to itself. The fate of an immortal being is in your 
hands. Decide as you please. I am prepared for pardon or revenge. 
Persecute me to death, or give me the power of again being what you 
know I am capable of becoming. Imitate the God who made us both, or 
be the devil of men's imagination. The bearer will bring you to me.' 

My father was absent, and as nothing more was heard from 
the offender, it is presumed that he died in Bellevue Hospital. 
We now turn to personages of a different stamp. 

No country rivals our own in the number of its pseudo 
reformers, philanthropists, statesmen, and philosophers, mostly of 
New England origin, all, generally speaking, cherishing some pet 
idea or scheme which, in the so-called service of humanity, they 
push to extremity. An analysis of their ability may thus be 
formulated — one half-truth diluted in forty-nine parts of igno- 
rance and fifty of energy. How much good they accomplish is 
not always apparent ; how much mischief is known to their 
victims. Some are honest and innocent ; the rest are more or 
less stimulated by vanity, and are satisfied with acquiring a 
popular recognition which, they think, will hand their names 
down to posterity. Occasionally this belief is rewarded. The 


half-truth works its way, leavens the public lump, and fame 
compensates its promulgator. Such is the happy fate of Sylvester 
Graham, advocate and apostle of bran-bread. Scarcely a genera- 
tion has passed since his disappearance, and his name is known 
not only in his own land, but in Europe, in Asia, and in Africa, 
wherever a dyspeptic missionary is found, and can get or make 
the bran-bread which assists impaired digestion. The half- 
truth, or theory of diet on which Graham's reputation rests, 
consists, summarily stated, of abstinence from animal food, coffee, 
tea, wine and spirits, and especially bolten flour ; in their place, 
people should nourish themselves on vegetables, fruits, milk, cold 
water, wheaten-grits, oatmeal mush, and above all, bread made of 
flour not deprived of its bran. Graham lectured on this theory 
throughout the country with enthusiasm and success. The fare of 
innumerable private tables was changed in conformity therewith ; 
meat was banished ; boarding-houses sprung up bearing his name 
and devoted to his system of diet ; bakers filled their ovens with 
bran-bread ; and influential editors, of whom Horace Greeley 
is a specimen, became his partisans, and enforced the theory in 
practice and in print. Overworked people, and especially those 
of sedentary occupations, changed their food and habits, took 
more exercise (which was probably the best detail of the theory), 
and benefited accordingly. My father was one of them. As he 
had formerly been somewhat indebted to Graham for intellectual 
nutriment, he accepted his physical system, and for exercise 
frequented the gymnasium conducted by Fuller, whose portrait 
he engraved. Graham and my father knew each other as early as 
1 8 12, and corresponded many years. Both, as youthful dreamers, 
were addicted to poetry. ' My correspondents in the city,' says 
Graham, in a letter of the above date, ' are very silent as to the 


probable success of our poems.' A sample of the inspiration 
of one of the ' poets ' has already been given ; in the absence of 
verses by the apostle of bran-bread, the reader may judge of his 
poetic temperament by the following extract from the above- 
named letter : — 

' It would indeed be ungrateful in me not to acknowledge that Nature 
has been bountiful in her endowments to me, but oh, how mercurial, how 
versatile, how strange a being has she made of me ! Serenely placid as 
heaven, turbulent and gloomy as hell, gentle as a lamb, extravagant as 
desperation, mild as the zephyr of summer, impetuous as the hurricane, 
kind as mercy, sanguine as a tyrant !' 

Time seems to have had no effect in toning down this sort 
of internal ebullition. Thirteen years later he says : — 

' Since I left you I have almost been in obscurity, scarcely knowing 
what was going on in the world, especially that part of it most interesting 
to me, Fine Arts and Literature ; I have been, it is true, in the neigh- 
bourhood of a college, but Heaven deliver me from such a barren soil, 
where every liberal feeling and cultivated taste must wither and be 
blighted by the mildew of ignorance, bigotry, superstition and malice. 
I have suffered the congregated calamities of disappointed and neglected 
genius and have come little short of the fate of Chatterton!' 

To obtain relief, and, perhaps, recognition of his genius, he 
goes to Boston, the metropolis of Massachusetts : — 

' I found no Academy of Arts, nor anything else in Boston worth 
looking at. ... I visited Professor Everett, at his house in Cambridge, 
and was treated with great politeness. I read him some of my poems, 
and he thought that I might venture to put them in the hands of a 
publisher without subscription. They have tucked a ten-dollar prize 
on me in Boston for a poem (an " Ode to the Moon "), which I sent 
without knowing a prize was offered, so that I can still say that I never 
wrote for a prize.' 


During the visit he is sadly afflicted by the death of a 
brother poet : — 

' The news of Lord Byron's death affected me tremendously ; my 
spirits were exceedingly depressed ; for several weeks I could not feel 
reconciled to it. It seemed as though half the world were swallowed 
up by an earthquake, and the other half was in mourning for it. . . . 
I think I shall yet set the world on fire with some publications if I live ! ' 

Fortunately for the world, circumstances did not favour the 
fulfilment of this intention. And yet, the half-truth Graham 
impressed on the minds of his contemporaries is attested by the 
eternal association of his name with bran -bread. As a radical 
change, however, in the diet of humanity, his system is a failure. 
But he is a sign of the times he lived in ; reformer and philan- 
thropist, he is a passing moral and intellectual phenomenon, as 
with many others whose theories and predictions are falsified by 
knowledge and experience. Look into his mind, and we see how 
slight were his qualifications for the role he undertook. The 
only unfinished plate my father left is an unsuccessful attempt 
at mezzotint engraving in the portrait of his friend, Sylvester 

Another character, in similar relationship at this time, is 
McDonald Clarke, called the ' Mad Poet.' My father be- 
friended this eccentric personage by giving him a table in his 
atelier where he could write his letters and verses, and come and 
go as he pleased. He also painted his portrait, or, rather, a 
sketch of him. I am indebted to the Rev. Dr. L. P. Clover, then 
a pupil of my father's, for the following reminiscences of ' Sandy 
Clarke,' as the ' Mad Poet ' signed his name in his correspondence. 

' Poor Clarke (you must remember him, for he made your father's 
rooms his head-quarters), died the victim of a cruel hoax, and now lies 


buried in Greenwood. It may well be said of him that he had not where 
to lay his head. He kept a diary, which was left lying about where any 
visitor so disposed could peruse its contents, consisting of dreams quite 
amusing, and occasionally, though rarely, very indelicate, along with 
unfinished scraps of poetry, wild, visionary conceits, comments on books 
and pictures, without any idea probably that they would ever be read by 
anybody but himself — all recorded with a degree of faithfulness and 
honesty sometimes startling. 

' One morning Mr. William Page, the artist, who knew Clarke well, 
and had doubtless heard of one of his recorded dreams, came in and asked 
to see the diary. It was handed to him ; he read it over carefully, 
frowned, and, without saying a word, put it into the stove. Shortly after 
Mr. Page went out Mr. Clarke entered, and, looking around for his diary, 
complained that he could not find it. " Have you seen anything of it ? " 
said he, addressing me. " Yes," I replied ; " Mr. Page has just read it, 
and, being displeased with an indelicate reference to a member of his 
family, has burned it." " Oh," said Clarke, with the innocence of a 
child, " can that be possible ! He should have remembered that it was 
only a dream." As I relinquished engraving, by advice of your father, 
and devoted myself to painting, Clarke afterwards sat to me for a 
small portrait, a rough sketch of the man on panel, but very like and 
characteristic. On the back of it Clarke wrote in paint the following : 
"Finished November 16, 1841. Clover's portrait of me is the only 
correct likeness ever painted. McDonald Clarke, 12 o'clock noon." * 

* Now in the possession of Dr. Clover's son, Commander Richardson Clover 
of the United States Navy. The following verses are taken from a short poem 
composed by Clarke on the completion of the portrait : — 

' No wonder that they think me mad, 
If mine is such a mournful face — 
So very desolate and sad — 
So furrowed with affliction's trace ! 
That forehead seems like a tombstone broke 
By a midnight thunder-stroke, 
While the scant and withered hair 
Shrouds sweet hopes — wildly buried there. 


' The simplicity of Clarke's nature was illustrated in nothing more 
fully than in the sad circumstances growing out of his painful and startling 
death. When I had my studio on Fulton Street, over the picture-frame 
store of Messrs. Greig and Campbell, opposite St. Paul's Churchyard, 
Clarke burst into the room one day and exclaimed, "■ I am going to be 
married." Taken by surprise I asked the name of the lady, and when 
the marriage was to take place. " The time is not yet definitely settled," 
said Clarke ; " but it is coming off soon. I passed their carriage, mother 
and daughter together ; both bowed to me very graciously. The young 
lady is the daughter of a well-known gentleman, president of a bank, quite 
wealthy ; and the mother evidently, from her manner, approves of the 
engagement." Some young men, boarders at the Clarendon House, 
having heard these stories, determined, it is said, to convert the whole 
thing into a joke, being unable to dissuade or ridicule the subject from 
Clarke's mind. A letter was written, purporting to have emanated from 
the father of the young lady and addressed to Clarke. In this letter a 
high estimate was expressed for the genius and talent of Clarke, and the 
high honour such an alliance would be to any family, however wealthy and 
distinguished, adding further that he, the father of the young lady, would 
wish to have the wedding conducted in such style as would reflect credit 
upon all the parties concerned. Unwilling to offer a loan, the father 
of the young lady thought it would be more consistent and dignified if the 
prospective groom would make a note for a given time, and present it at 

' No wonder that the women turn 
Away when I have wished to wed, 
And this poor heart is doomed to burn 
With passions that light up the dead, 
Aye, dead — for no congenial mind, 
In all this cold, wide world, I find ! 

' Dash your brush across that brow — 
Let not the far-off" ages see 
How sadly 1 am altered now ; 
How harsh the world has dealt with me; 
How hearts that I would fain embrace 
Have frown'd and darkened up that face ! ' 



the bank to be cashed. Absurd as this plan was, the note was prepared 
and presented to the president, who, upon an explanation of the facts 
in the case, became very angry, pronounced the whole thing a vile 
imposition, and declared that no one but a madman or demented could 
be so imposed upon. It was a terrible blow to Clarke, who was of 
too sensitive a nature to rally. Rushing from the bank, the victim of a 
heartless joke, he was found by the watchman that night on his knees in 
front of St. Paul's Church, taken to a place of confinement, locked up, 
and there died. The next morning, when it was found that the victim 
was Clarke, the whole community was shocked, and the perpetrators of 
the cruel hoax were taught a lesson they never forgot. More than 
fifty years have passed since the monument erected to the memory of 
McDonald Clarke over his remains in Greenwood was placed where it 
now stands, the expense of which was contributed in part, it is said, 
by those who innocently, but with no less fatal than guilty consequences, 
engaged in the perpetration of a heartless, cruel, practical joke.' 

Dr. Clover speaks of himself as a pupil of my father in the 
art of engraving. J. W. Casilear and two other pupils pre- 
ceded him — J. W. Paradise and G. W. Hatch. Besides these, 
Pekenino, as we have seen, occupied a place in his atelier, also 
M. Boilly, a French stipple engraver and son of the distinguished 
painter of that name belonging to the French school of art of 
the latter part of the last century. Several applications were 
made by others desirous of becoming pupils, among which was 
that of the late John F. Kensett, the eminent landscapist. But 
none were accepted, as my father contemplated abandoning the 
practice of engraving. 

' The XXI.,' or Sketch Club, demands extended notice in 
these pages, on account of the social influence it exercised in 
the development of the American school of art. It is not too 
much to say that the start the school obtained at this period 
is due to the men who belonged to this Club. The following 


brief history of it, abbreviated and transcribed from a paper 
read before the Century Club,* is here reproduced : — 

In [825 the students of art then inhabiting New York 
formed an association for the practice of drawing. Obtaining 
a room in the old almshouse building in the park, in the rear 
of the City Hall, in which the collection of casts imported for 
the American Academy of the Fine Arts had been lodged, they 
set up a lamp and began work, devoting their evenings to it."j" 
Out of this association sprung the National Academy of Design. 
Meanwhile the Annual, as described on foregoing pages, became 
a fashionable publication, the effect of which was to bring 
together artists and the literary men engaged in its preparation. 
An acquaintanceship sprung up between them which led to the 
best results. This companionship marks the incipient growth 
in the community of that quiet, refined, intellectual force 
generated by the mingling together on common ground of 
men of all professions, wherein, as Franklin says, ' Conversation 
warms the mind, enlivens the imagination, and is continually 
starting fresh game.' No society is better adapted to this pur- 
pose than that of artists. Their minds free of a conventional 
bias, indifferent to exciting questions like those of politics and 
business, and always observing nature, they possess a fund of 
ideas and experiences which, in conversation, freshen the minds 
of practical people with whom they come in contact, and make 
them excellent company. All this time the artists kept up 
their evening drawing - meetings. Occasionally their friends 
would drop in, while certain amateurs of art were invited to 

* Prehistoric Notes of the Century Club, by J. Durand. Published by the 
Century Club, 1882. 

\ See Annals of the National Academy of Design, by T. S. Cummings. 


join the circle, thus providing, through this pleasant intercourse, 
the idea of a more extended social club, which idea, then sug- 
gested, came to maturity in 1829. The object of the organiza- 
tion was as follows : — 

1. The encouragement of social and friendly feelings among 

the members by occasional meetings. 

2. Mutual improvement in the art which is chiefly to be 

practised at these meetings. 

3. The production of an Annual. 

The Club was of course governed by bye-laws. \ The first 
law prescribed meetings at each other's houses every Friday 
evening. The second prescribed sketches, the subject for which 
was to be selected by the entertainer, although each artist was 
free to choose one according to his fancy. It is recorded of 
one artist that ' he drew what pleased him because he was too 
lazy to read the poem which furnished the subject for the rest.' 
Regular meetings were announced in one of the daily news- 
papers in this cabalistic form : ' S. C. ; S. F. B. M.,' indicating 
that the Sketch Club was to meet that evening at the house 
of S. F. B. Morse. These capitals seemed to have excited public 
curiosity, calling forth letters to the editor as to their purpose. 
One writer insinuated that they summoned together a gambling 
club. Mr. R. C. Sands, himself probably the author of the 
insinuation, wrote the following reply : — 

' To the Editor of the " Standard." 

'My Dear Sir, — I am exceedingly grieved to see by your 
paper of this morning that you have fallen into an enormous error respecting 
the nature and object of the Selebrated Cociety to which I have the 
honour to belong, and the existence of which is occasionally made known 
to the public through the press by the apparition of its formidable initials, 


S. C. You appear to be somewhat alarmed at the portentous aspect of 
the prodigy ; but, my dear friend, let me entreat you to calm your 
uneasiness. We S. C.'s are not gamblers, and we entertain as virtuous 
and laudable a horror of such iniquities as any of our fellow-countrymen. 
How should it be otherwise ? Are we not Sober Citizens and Sincere 
Christians ? Do we not Sleep Coundly, Sing Cheerfully, Separate 
Coberly, Speak Censibly, Suffer Courageously, and Sup Comfortably ? 
You seem to think we Shuffle Cards too, but upon the Spotless Character 
of an S. C. it is not so ; and the man who says it utters a Scandalous 

' Since you manifest so much anxiety on the subject, however, I 
will tell you the honest truth ; we are, in fact, a Secret Combination 
of Sworn Conspirators; and Social Conviviality is but a Simulated Cover 
for the Sacred Cecrecy of our Solemn Cabal. 

' Your Sensible Correspondent, 

' S. C 

The third bye-law, of a sumptuary order, and the most im- 
portant, was intended to prevent extravagant entertainments, 
which, if tolerated, would set a bad example, defeat the object 
of the Club, and render it inaccessible to artists whose incomes 
did not warrant display of this kind. An incident occurred 
in this sense which shows how the overwhelming spirit of the 
age was exorcised for the time being, but which in after years, 
in the development of the Century Club, has obtained the 

Tradition has it that a wealthy man found his way into 
the Club. As usual, a meeting took place at his house. Imagine 
the horror of the members when, on opening the folding-doors, 
a superb supper appeared before them on a table, at which they 
were expected to sit down. Tradition says that the members 
refused to do so, declaring that they would eat standing. 
Unfortunately for tradition a printed record of the event is 


extant, declaring that the members concluded to take their 
seats and be comfortable. Still, the honour of the Club was 
outraged, and it was quietly arranged to get rid of this luxurious 
member by dissolving the Club. No more meetings were called 
in the regular way. After an interval of eight months the next 
minutes, showing reconstruction, read as follows : ' Minutes of 
the Sketch Club, reorganized December 17, 1830. — At a 
meeting of the Sketch Club, held pursuant to notice in the 
Council Chamber of the National Academy of Design, it was 
unanimously agreed that the Sketch Club be considered extinct, 
and that the members present (of whom there were only five) 
form themselves into a committee of the whole for the purpose 
of organizing it anew on a more suitable plan.' A new code 
of laws was at once drawn up (of which there is no copy 
preserved), officers were elected, and the Council Chamber of 
the National Academy was fixed upon as the place of meeting 
every Friday evening ; an initiation fee of five dollars was im- 
posed, and the appointment of a caterer and treasurer restricted 
to one person. At the meeting held the following week the 
rest of the members, with the exception of the objectionable 
one, were present, and the Sketch Club, as it continued to the 
end, was finally established. In 1831 the meetings at each 
other's houses were resumed. It is well to notice that the title 
of the Sketch Club among its members was ' The XXI.,' 
which number was probably first fixed upon as the limit of 
membership. Afterwards it was extended to twenty-five. 

One of the intellectual entertainments, in accordance with its 
purposes and attempted to be carried out, was drawing. But 
this did not last long. Drawing is of too absorbing a nature to 
allow an artist to wield the pencil and at the same time to sit 


still and pay no attention to the talk and laughter of those 
around him. Indeed, such is the verdict of the minutes, for 
one member is reported as complaining of ' his feelings being so 
much excited, and his thoughts so diverted from his subject, 
that for the last quarter of an hour he has been sketching nothing 
but peanuts and sweet-almond shells instead of " Sweet Auburn, 
the loveliest village of the plain." Frequent reference is made, 
again, to the publication of the Annual, an idea which did not 
long survive. In 1832 the following resolution was passed: 
' That the Sketch Club publish a New York Annual for the 
year 1833, and that Mr. Durand be requested to superintend 
the embellishments ; also that the Corresponding Secretary be 
instructed to write to Mr. Verplanck (then in Congress) and 
request his aid in superintending the literary execution of the 
work.' Subsequently Messrs. Bryant, Neilson, and Emerson 
were appointed the literary Committee to have charge of the 
embryo Annual, and this is the last official record of it. 

Song and instrumental music are often recorded in the 
minutes of the Sketch Club, while there are similar notices of 
stories, discussions, mirth, and philosophy. We find Mr. 
Bryant propounding ' a sage notion that the perfection of 
bathing is to jump headforemost into a snowbank.' Scientific 
inspiration shows itself in this question : ' Does heat expand 
the days in summer ?' Mr. Verplanck throws antiquarian 
light ' on the precise form and capacity of antediluvian butter- 
churns.' It would take too much space to mention every 
instance of Sketch Club jollity. One more example must be 
given on account of its novelty. In the minutes, always penned 
with waggish intent, it is recorded that ' a penance was imposed 
on Mr. Sands, Dr. Neilson, and the Secretary' — at this time 


Mr. John Inman — consisting of impromptu doggerel verses, 
each verse to contain the word ' extract,' and ' Extract ' to be 
the subject. 

Mr. Sands began : 

' Many elegant Extracts there be, 
Such as Syrup of Sarsaparilla ;' 

Mr. Inman replies : 

' A sort of a shrub or a tree, 
That is found in the Isles of Manilla.' 

Mr. Inman again : 

' Now, though Extracts are potent, they say 
There's no faith in the word of a woman : ' 

Mr. Sands 

Dr. Neilson 

Mr. Sands 

' That the Extracts she makes, every way 
Are doubtful, is unknown to no man.' 

1 Extracting a grinder they say 
May be done with both profit and pleasure;' 

' But yet there's the devil to pay 
If your gum-bone is cracked beyond measure.' 

And so on until the vein runs dry. 

All this belongs to the earliest years of the Sketch Club. 
In 1831 the members, about thirty, numbered thirteen artists, 
including those connected with artistic pursuits. The rest were 
nearly all literary men, among whom must be mentioned W. C. 
Bryant, John Howard Payne, and R. C. Sands, poets ; G. C. 
Verplanck, Hamilton Fish, Charles Fenno Hoffman, John 
Inman, William Emerson, Dr. Neilson, and others of literary 
and artistic habits and sympathies. A little later two or three 
lawyers of similar tastes, one merchant, and two clergymen — 
Rev. Drs. Dewey and Bellows — joined the Club. These men 


collectively may be styled the fountain-head of the subsequent 
prosperity of local art. At this time the public cared nothing 
for art, nor did any of the newspapers from an editorial 
point of view ; the annual exhibitions of the National 
Academy of Design, held in the upper story of Clinton Hall, 
and gradually becoming the fashion, simply afforded a new 
public amusement, were noticed accordingly in the journals 
of the day, and forgotten as soon as closed. Whenever 
Art in other relations appealed to the public ear, at the 
meetings of societies or at festivals, the two clerical members 
of the Club acted as its spokesmen, and, besides this, they 
often advocated and interpreted its utility in the pulpit. The 
introduction into the Club of the merchant, Mr. Luman 
Reed, who had proved his interest in native art by a 
spontaneous and liberal encouragement of many of its artist 
members, is most significant ; it marks the tendency of 
wealth in that direction — in brief, the support of home art 
by the all-powerful commercial spirit. In the next chapter 
the services rendered and the example set by the most 
eminent patron of American art will be narrated. One 
detail in the working of the old Sketch Club remains to be 
noticed, on account of the effect it produced in preventing 
the election of new members, and that is, the power of one 
black ball to exclude a candidate ; it was the exclusion of 
members by this over-careful means that led mainly to the 
formation of the Century Club. 

We now pass on to certain details belonging to the end 
of my father's career as an engraver. Successful as he had been 
in this profession, it must be stated that he was not fond 
of it. He soon discovered that he could do better. Time 


and experience had changed his aspirations. He found that 
the world of New York was bigger than that of his father's 
workshop in Jefferson Village, and that engraving afforded 
only a limited field for the exercise of his artistic aptitudes. 
He accordingly did not wait long to test his capacity in 
other lines of art ; indeed, long before the complete establish- 
ment of his reputation as engraver he began to paint as a 
pastime. The engravings of pictures by famous painters, 
the knowledge of art and of celebrated artists he picked up 
in a desultory manner from books and conversation, prompted 
him very early to try experiments with the brush as he had 
before done with the graver. Without instruction, as in his 
first attempts at engraving and when he made his own tools, 
he bought a canvas, ground his colours, set his palette, and 
began to paint. His initiatory efforts — as usual with impatient 
novices — seem to have been 'high art.' As early as 1826, 
according to the catalogue of the first exhibition of the 
National Academy of Design, he appears before the public 
with a 'Mary Magdalen at the Sepulchre;' in 1827 with 
' Samson shorn of his Locks by the Philistines while asleep 
in the arms of Delilah;' in 1828 with a landscape compo- 
sition; in 1829, ' Hagar in the Wilderness;' and in 1 83 1 
with another ' Samson and Delilah,' when, probably because 
nobody would buy these works, he abandoned this scriptural 
strain altogether. In 1832 he exhibits landscapes, and from 
that time on the same class of works, together with portraits 
and local historical subjects, the natural product of his talent 
now finding public appreciation and patronage. In 1833 
he exhibited a portrait group of three children, which, com- 
bining figures and landscape of nearly equal interest, proved 


a novelty, and, as he says in a letter to a friend, c a very 
difficult task.' It was successful, however, from an artistic 
point of view. Two portraits were painted by him this same 
year : one of ' John Manesca,' a French teacher, who estab- 
lished the system of teaching that language afterwards pirated 
by Ollendorf ; and another of c Col. Aaron Ogden,' Governor 
of New Jersey, now in the New York Historical Society 
collection. These portraits brought him many commissions. 
Thus encouraged, he devoted himself less and less to 
engraving, and more and more to painting, until, finally, 
the former profession was entirely abandoned. He had long 
looked forward to this end. His labour at engraving, 
generally portraits, proved monotonous, while that employed 
on bank-note engraving, although more profitable, got to be 
merely mechanical drudgery. His artistic feeling would not 
allow him to become a mere plodder for money. It may 
truly be said of him that, in relation to bank-note engraving, 
he abandoned a fortune for love of art. Fortunately for 
him, as well as for the art of the country, Luman Reed 
appeared, and converted a mere desire to become a painter 
into a fixed determination. We now turn to some account 
of this eminent American patron of art. 



Luman Reed — The Service ofWealth — The Commercial Man — Early American 
Artists — Business Career of Mr. Reed — His Taste for Art — Our Artist visits 
Washington — General Jackson and his Portrait — Mr. Reed's relations with 
G. W. Flagg — Souvenirs of Mr. Hackett — House and Gallery of Mr. Reed 
— Illness and Death — Tributes by Cole, Mount, and Flagg— Effects of Mr. 
Reed's Example — The New York Gallery of Fine Arts. 

WEALTH, in the old world derived from the people 
by taxation or otherwise, and disbursed by Church 
or State for public benefit — for Religion, Education, 
Charity, Science, or Art — is, in the United States, appropriated 
to all these civilising agencies by the ' Children of Commerce,' 
as Gouverneur Morris calls them ; or, in other words, by private 
individuals who, obtaining wealth by trade or industry, solely by 
their own exertions, expend it voluntarily for public advantage. 
All public institutions in our country, outside of Government 
organization, exist directly or indirectly through the muni- 
ficence of men of this stamp ; all are so many monuments of 
a public spirit hitherto unprecedented in history. New social 
conditions seem to have rendered of supreme importance a 
hitherto subordinate force in society. To comprehend it we 
have only to see how the commercial man expends his wealth 
in gratification of his tastes and aspirations. 

The motives which govern him in this respect, born out of 
instinct and experience rather than out of knowledge, custom, or 
example, are at first purely personal. Life being to him practical 
in the highest degree, a struggle with competitors as energetic as 


himself, having no time or thought to bestow on nice distinctions 
of fitness or propriety, his ideal aim is to get the best of every- 
thing. Of the creature comforts he must have the best, whether 
it be food, drink, or clothing. If he builds a house, it must be a 
palace ; the choicest woods and designs must be employed in its 
decoration, the furniture must be of the finest polish, and the 
curtains and carpets the richest products of the loom. A library 
being an indispensable adjunct to a fine house, its shelves must 
display the English classics along with the works of authors most 
in vogue, in the most elegant bindings. If pictures are bought, 
they are the works of distinguished foreign artists of world-wide 
fame, whose merit is evident by the prices their works command. 
Aware of the importance of culture, his children must enjoy the 
great advantages their father lacked, and must go to the best and 
dearest schools ; with respect to religion, his family must attend 
a fine church with an eloquent preacher, and occupy the best pew 
in it.* Ideals of this stamp are to be gratified materially and 

But the intellect of the commercial man is not thus limited ; 
he cherishes nobler ideals and acts under higher impulses. 
Personal longings being satisfied, he concerns himself with the 
welfare of society. His sympathies are warm and active. 
Crime, misery, suffering, poverty, and disease are evils always 
apparent that need no special study ; he belongs to societies for 
the repression of crime, superintends and founds every sort of 
hospital and asylum. Fully sensible of the value of religion to 

* 'In securing precedence in the house of the Lord, the control of money 
superseded age and recognition of private worth, or public service, or family 
consideration.' — Three Episodes in Massachusetts History, by Charles Francis 
Adams, page 38. 


society, he assists congregations of all sects in the building or 
churches. Knowing the value of superior instruction, he founds 
technical schools, great libraries and universities, all of which 
come within the scope of common sympathies without regard to 
culture. When culture is requisite, as in the case of art, the 
munificence of the commercial man is less significant ; personal 
in his aims, his expenditure is lavish for the decoration of his 
dwelling, but for the benefit of the public in art his largess is 
more limited than that bestowed in other directions. The 
Corcoran Gallery in Washington, with its ample revenue 
exclusively devoted to the formation of a free public gallery, 
is thus far the sole institution organized by a private individual 
for purposes growing out of wide culture in art. 

With the foregoing for a preface, we now turn to Luman 
Reed, whose name is placed at the head of this chapter, a man 
scarcely known beyond his generation, and who, a superior type 
of amateur, may be said to have prepared the way for this 
order of progress. After acquiring a fortune by untiring 
energy, he affords a remarkable example of intelligence and 
generosity in the use of it. Before setting forth the character 
and influence of Mr. Reed, it is necessary to revert briefly to 
the state of art in the country before he came upon the stage. 

American art in the eighteenth century and first years of the 
nineteenth, as far as it can be shown by works produced on our 
soil, begins with Smybert, a Scotch painter born in Edinburgh in 
1684, and induced to come to this country by Dean Berkeley in 
1728. Smybert settled and married in Boston, where he painted 
portraits. His principal work, a picture of the family of Dean 
Berkeley, is now in New Haven. The talent of Smybert was 
not of the first class. In any event, it was sufficiently great to 

R^, utdf „ lh , P h ik tmet ■ 

H'l«gr«m,re Duj„i„. PrinuJ-i, r w,..„ ,!?*"' Ej, l 


e building ot 

ruction, he founds 

rsities, all of which 

res without regard to 

the case of art, the 

, nificant ; personal 

the decoration of his 

. put irt his largess is 


. ample revenue 

public gallery, 

ed by a private individual 

aa3 5lVlAMUJ in art. 

,* && ? ^|S* W ^^r a man 
r^^f; r ho, a superior type 

the way for this 
fortune by until 

Qtelligence and 
■ ,rth the character 
rt brief!; 
che stage. 
3 of the 

iburgh in 

Berkeley in 


,. | --..'■:■ of Dean 


attract young students of art, and serve them as a sort of 
educator. Among those who profited by a study of his work 
were Copley, Trumbull, and Allston. John Singleton Copley, 
born in Boston, 1738, began to paint spontaneously at a very 
early age. ' Pieces executed by him in Boston, before (to use 
his own words) he had seen any tolerable picture, and certainly 
before he could have received any instruction from the lips of a 
master, show his natural talent.'* His principal works, painted 
in America before 1776, when he went to England and finished 
his career, consist of portraits. In this branch of art he produced 
some not afterwards excelled by him, of which two now in the 
possession of Mr. Martin Brimmer, of Boston, attest the im- 
portance. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the works of 
Smybert. Charles Wilson Peale, born in Maryland, 1741, comes 
next in order. He visited Copley in Boston, in 1768, who 
' afforded him great enjoyment and instruction.' In 1770 he 
went to London and became a pupil of West's. On returning 
home, in 1774, he practised portrait-painting during revolu- 
tionary times as well as in after years. Then comes Gilbert 
Stuart, the most remarkable of all, and, as a portrait-painter, still 
without a rival. Malbone, born in 1794, whose miniatures 
equal those of any painter, was an American. Wertmuller, a 
Swede who came to this country in 1794, and died here in 1872, 
an artist of great ability, and Robert Edge Pine, born in 
England, complete the list of artists of superior merit whose 
works are conspicuous in the early stages of the American school. 
Of Trumbull we have already spoken. 

Portraiture, accordingly, was the only branch of art that 
met with any spontaneous encouragement, and that enabled 

* Dunlap, History of the Arts of Design in the United States. 


a local artist with a family to support himself. The absorbing 
cares of life at this purely practical stage of the nation's 
growth prevented the indulgence of ideal aspirations ; nobody, 
consequently, desired to possess a work by a home artist other 
than a portrait of a relation, or of some real or fancied great 
man of the day. Certain artists, like Peale and Trumbull, 
painted pictures to please themselves, but at their own risk 
and always without adequate compensation. Dunlap, in his 
History of the Arts of Design in the United States, in which 
he narrates the lives and fortunes of American artists down to 
1833, records only a few exceptions to this rule. These facts 
prove not the lack of talent, but a state of public culture that 
afforded no encouragement for art beyond that of depicting 
the features of a man or a woman. All native-born artists 
capable of doing better work, and free of, or indifferent to, 
money restrictions, emigrated to Europe — West, Copley, Stuart 
(more of an adventurer than the rest), Newton, Leslie, Allston, 
and Vanderlyn— where they studied, and obtained recognition 
and honour. West became President of the Royal Academy, 
Leslie the recipient of royal favour, Allston a celebrity of the 
day as painter and poet, and Vanderlyn a competitor of French 
artists, and awarded a medal. Stuart, Allston, and Vanderlyn, 
it is true, returned home. Allston brought with him a repu- 
tation acquired abroad that reflected honour on his country, but 
he lived and died in Boston in comparative poverty. Vanderlyn 
on his return went back to his native village, Kingston, on the 
Hudson River, and lived there almost unknown ; in any event, 
he wore out a vexed and broken spirit in the vain effort to 
secure a foothold in an unsympathetic community, obtaining 
recognition only when his powers had failed. Both were artists 


of capacity, but their art was grafted on the grand old stock 
of European thought and feeling. Stuart, devoted wholly to 
portraiture, found appreciation in both countries, and was suc- 
cessful. We now turn to Luman Reed, the first wealthy and 
intelligent connoisseur who detected and encouraged native 
ability in other directions than in portraiture. 

Luman Reed was born in 1785, in a village called Green 
River, Columbia County, State of New York. In his boyhood 
he removed to Coxsackie, a small town on the Hudson River 
about twenty-five miles below Albany, where he was educated 
at the expense of an uncle in an ordinary school. When old 
enough he entered a country store at Coxsackie, and subse- 
quently became the partner and brother-in-law of his employer. 
During this period of his life he acted as a sort of super- 
cargo on a sloop called the Shakespeare, belonging to the firm, 
and plying between Coxsackie and New York, the voyage 
commonly lasting ten days. His functions consisted in selling 
the produce of the farms around Coxsackie, and in purchasing 
goods in New York for his country store. Finding by expe- 
rience of this kind that New York offered a larger field for 
the exercise of his abilities, he at length left the country, and, 
carrying with him the little capital he had accumulated, 
became a merchant on a larger scale in that city. This ' start 
in life,' it may be added, is that of thousands of young 
Americans of similar energy and foresight. 

The details of Mr. Reed's business career need not be 
dwelt on ; it is necessary only to note the qualities which 
ensured his success — sagacity, promptness, self-reliance, remark- 
able organizing power, and strict discipline in relation to his 
subordinates, accompanied with great solicitude for their 



interests and welfare. Two or three trifling occurrences illus- 
trate these characteristics. On one occasion he had purchased 
forty hogsheads of sugar, and told his carman that he was to 
bring them to the store in the afternoon. Meanwhile he had 
resold them. On returning to his place of business he tells 
the carman : ' I sold that sugar and made one hundred and 
fifty dollars by it, but I saved you the cartage.' At another 
time he bought a lot of wine and sent the carman for it. 
The seller, having had no time, probably, to ascertain his 
credit, refused to deliver it, and sent back a -note to that 
effect. ' Where is the wine ? ' demanded Mr. Reed. ' I got 
only this note,' replied the carman. Mr. Reed opened the 
note and read it. ' Tell him,' he exclaimed, ' my endorser is 
in my pocket. If he has any of my notes, send them here 
and I'll cash them. Stop ! I'll go with you ! ' He jumped 
on the cart, and ' I tell you,' said the carman, ' I had to 
hurry.' In ten minutes his credit was established and the 
wine delivered. One morning the clerk whose duty it was to 
open the store very early in the morning overslept the cus- 
tomary hour ; on reaching the store he found ' L. Reed, 
5 o'clock,' in chalk on the door. The sentinel was not at 
his post on the rounds of the general, and this was the mode 
of punishment. His was the discipline of soldiers who feel 
that the general is ever present, but at the same time who 
know that he is always considerate. Everybody under him, 
up to the day of his death, almost worshipped him. It only 
remains to say that, in the commercial world, which is a great 
battle-field, Mr. Reed was an accomplished strategist, and made 
good use of victory. 

Between 1815 and 1832, a period of seventeen years, a 


fortune rewarded Mr. Reed for his toil. He now began to 
gratify other instincts, not rooted in gain. Art seems to have 
attracted his attention spontaneously. As usual with com- 
mercial men whose natural tastes are kept in abeyance by the 
exigencies of business, his first impulse was to possess the best 
works of art that could possibly be had, which in those days 
consisted of ' Old Masters,' the aesthetic standards of the time. 
He accordingly resorted to ' Michael Paff, Esq.,' the only 
accredited authority and dealer in pictures in New York, who 
supplied him, in commercial phraseology, with ' the best the 
market could afford.' How many Mr. Reed bought is not 
known. Very soon, however, he discovered he was purchasing 
counterfeit ' goods,' and he got rid of his acquisitions in much 
less time than it took to buy them. Abandoning ' Michael 
Paff, Esq.,' he trusted to his own tastes and sympathies. At 
this time the exhibitions of the National Academy of Design, 
held in Clinton Hall, Nassau Street, and then becoming attrac- 
tive, presented an art which he could comprehend, consisting 
of subjects derived from local life, history, and scenery. He 
sought the acquaintance of the artists who furnished them, and 
at once interested himself in their labours. Finding them 
co-workers like himself on an entirely new field, it is probable 
that his sympathy for their efforts was quickened by this fact. 
However this may be, he availed himself of the opportunity 
to procure original productions. His first commission, in 1834, 
was given to my father. The following documents narrate 
their subsequent intercourse and the beginning of an encourage- 
ment of native art that led to most important results. 

In 1835 Mr. Charles Augustus Davis, author of the famous 
political letters by ' Major Jack Downing,' commissioned my 


father to visit Washington and paint a portrait of Henry- 
Clay, then Senator from Kentucky and the great opponent of 
the policy of General Jackson, who occupied the presidential 
chair. Mr. Reed at the same time commissioned him to paint 
the portrait of General Jackson. In fulfilment of these com- 
missions the artist writes from Washington, February 28th, 
1835: 'I obtained an introduction to Mr. Clay, made known 
my business, and was assured by him that he could not sit for 
his portrait, .... his time being entirely taken up by the 
pressure of business at the close of Congress. ... I have 
learned nothing relating to the portrait of the President, having 
to dance attendance on " great men " two or three days before 
one can get an answer to a simple question. ... If I cannot 
begin this week I shall give up the business, and, like Jack 
Downing, "turn my back on the White House until I'm sent 
for." ' 

On the 1 2th of March he reports : ' For a whole fort- 
night I have been able to obtain only two sittings of the 
President. . . . Since writing the above I have had another 
half-sitting, but under such unfavourable circumstances that I 
fear I shall not be able to satisfy myself : he smokes, reads, 
and writes, and attends to other business while I am painting, 
and the whole time of a sitting is short of one hour ; but all 
say that I have an excellent likeness ; . . . . however, it is 
not good enough to satisfy me. The General has been part 
of the time in a pretty good humour, but sometimes he gets his 
" dander up " and smokes his pipe prodigiously.' 

And not only that, but, as my father related on returning 
home, he could overhear the President, at the meetings of his 
Cabinet in the adjoining room, warmly disputing with the 


members of it and vociferating ' by the Eternal ! ' together with 
less temperate expletives, in the most energetic manner ; on 
entering to give a sitting, and obliged to sign papers on his 
knee as these were constantly brought in, he would denounce 
Henry Clay in unmeasured terms. 

Meanwhile Mr. Reed extended his commission so as to 
include portraits of all the Presidents of the United States up 
to that day. He writes : — 

' I intend to make presents of them to one of our public institutions 
of Science and Natural History. ... It is not proper for me to mention 
the name of the institution until the presentation is made. . . . If possible, 
get that of the Hon. John Quincy Adams [then in Washington], also 
Jefferson, from an original by Stuart, and likewise Monroe. ... I forgot 
the portrait of the genuine patriot, John Adams, which I hope you will 
consent to copy for me, be it where it may. . . . Washington and 
Madison you already have.' 

In 1832 my father had painted a portrait of the venerable 
ex-President Madison, at his residence in Virginia, for George P. 
Morris, editor of the New York Mirror. The execution of 
Mr. Reed's commission at this time involved an excursion to 
Boston, soon after the return of the artist to New York. The 
following extracts from his letters narrate his occupation and 
experiences there. Mr. Reed accompanied him. He writes, 
June 10th, 1835 : — 

' I have been at work to some account since I wrote last, but, 
gadding about and looking at everything in and out of Boston 
most of the time, I have of course not made much progress, 
although I have four pictures begun ; one of a beautiful little 
girl, the grand-daughter of Mr. Adams, which I paint at the 
request of Mr. Reed, to be presented to Mr. Adams ; another, 


a portrait of the Hon. Edward Everett for Mr. Davis (Major 
Jack Downing), who gave me the order soon after my arrival 
here ; and a third, the head of President John Adams (after 
Stuart), which is almost done, as well as that of John Quincy 
Adams, an entirely new portrait from life, and much better than 
the one I did in Washington. I shall begin copies of Washington 
and his wife immediately. After Mr. Reed leaves me I shall 
have nothing to do but work and make the most of my time. I 
have dined once with Mr. Adams, and have promised to do so 
again to-morrow. His residence is eight miles from Boston, 
which renders it not so convenient as I could wish for sittings in 
taking his and his grand-daughter's portraits. But as I have 
already said, no inconvenience shall interfere in my carrying out 
the wishes of Mr. Reed, who seems to think of nothing else 
while here but to promote my best interests. You will smile to 
know that he assures me I shall yet ride in my own carriage. If 
I am ever able only to paint as well as he hopes and flatters 
himself that I will, I shall care but little for a carriage provided I 
continue able to walk and to work.' 

On returning to New York, Mr. Reed writes the following 
letter, showing in what way he facilitated the painter in accom- 
plishing his work : — 

'New York, June 15, 1835. 

c You will no doubt be a little surprised to see Mr. Allen [his 
son-in-law] back in Boston again so soon. He is going to finish up 
what he left undone ; he will tell you what he is after. I have this 
morning seen Mr. Gouverneur, son-in-law of Mr. Monroe, and he 
informs me that Stuart's original of Mr. Monroe is at Baltimore, in the 
hands of Mr. Rogers, and that the portrait at Oak Hill is by Sully. I 
have seen the one in his mother's possession by Vanderlyn, which is 
very well painted. Mr. Gouverneur says that it is the best likeness, 


except that in the possession of S. E. Burrows, by Paradise, which you 
are familiar with. ... I am told by Mr. Gouverneur that the original of 
Madison by Stuart is at Oak Hill. It seems to be a difficult thing to find 
out where the originals of Madison and Monroe really are. You could 
tell them if you could set eyes on them. 5 

Knowing my father's interest in the National Academy, he 
adds : — 

'The exhibition at the Academy comes on very well. Over $1900 
has been taken in, and the receipts will be at least $2000 by the close. I 
hope to hear that you are getting on to your mind, of which I have 
no doubt. Mr. Sturges is anxious for your return. I think he wants 
you to paint both of his children. Wishing you health, happiness, and 
fame, 'I am, yours sincerely, 

c Luman Reed.' 

Writing a few days later to his friend and pupil, Mr. Casilear, 
my father narrates his visit to Washington Allston : — 

' I have seen everything in art and nature that the place 
affords, and there is much worth seeing. The most interesting 
object to me is our country's greatest painter. We have paid 
him two visits. He is indeed an interesting personage. I 
cannot but regret that he declines Mr. Reed's request to paint 
a picture for him on account of the necessary time ; he has 
promised, however, to do so as soon as his present engage- 
ments are fulfilled, among which is the finishing of " Belshazzar's 
Feast," which he intends soon to unroll. He expressed a great 
desire to see my print of " Ariadne." Having brought an im- 
pression to Boston with me, I was able to gratify him, and if 
I had not become in some measure insensible to the tickling of 
praise on that point, I should be fully satisfied with the high 
compliments he paid me. He wishes some conversation with 
me before I leave on engraving his picture of the " Bloody 


Hand." At an earlier period of my life this would have given 
me the highest satisfaction ; now it comes with less relish. 
Still, could I obtain assistance on the subordinate parts, I should 
be willing to undertake it for the sake of doing some work by 
so distinguished an artist. I expect a visit from him soon, 
when I shall be obliged to undergo the ordeal of submitting 
my painting to his eye, for the result of which I am a little 
more anxious.' 

What this opinion was does not appear — it is doubtful if 
it was flattering, considering the aim, attainments, and technical 
proficiency of the two artists. The admiration of the younger 
artist for the genius of his superior was nevertheless then great, 
and remained undiminished after years of experience and an 
opportunity to compare his works with those of the great 
European masters. The following passage in the same letter 
is given as a passing comment. Speaking of an exhibition in 
Boston, my father says : — 

' There are three works by Allston in it, two portraits and 
the other a single figure of a " Troubadour," which I think 
you would pass by without notice. I have seen others in this 
city by him which I cannot appreciate ; but there are some 
which cannot be misunderstood — one, a landscape, I think equal 
in colour, light and shade, to anything I ever saw.' 

On the 2nd of June he writes : — 

' I am getting homesick. But the remedy will be at hand 
in one week more, for I begin to see through my labours. If 
nothing interferes I shall close, or very nearly so, this week. 
My work has been nearly double what I expected. Since I 
wrote last I have begun another portrait from life, the father- 
in-law of Mr. Everett and of Mr. C. F. Adams (son of John 


Quincy Adams), for whom I am painting it. All pronounce 
my likenesses " first-rate." But, however, flattering their good 
opinions and the commissions given me may be, I still hope 
that I may not be induced to undertake others, for I wish to 
be at home, and to that end every hour of the day is devoted 
to the completion of what I have in hand. I have finished six 
heads and have three more far advanced — in all, nine portraits, 
five of which are originals and the others copies for Mr. Reed. 
This is the amount of my labour, and if I finish this week, I 
shall have done the whole in three weeks — which is not slow.' 

Some might think too fast — that the quality of the work 
was endangered by speed. But, considering that the painter 
was plying his brush every hour of daylight, the rate of speed 
may be accepted. Evidence of how he employed himself, as 
well as a glimpse of his abstemious and other habits, may be 
gathered from the following passage at the end of the above 
letter : — 

' Since Mr. Reed left I have lived in complete solitude, 
working all day in my painting-room and passing the evening 
in my bedroom. At table we have three or four ladies, as 
many gentlemen, and sundry children, yet they are about as 
silent as ours at home. As for myself, I say little — drink coffee 
and green tea regularly because there is none other. I eat 
dyspepsia bread, which is not " Graham " bread in Boston, 
together with whatever else comes before me, being noways 
particular — so you may conclude that I am not sick, otherwise 
than homesick. I have had a good many of what are called 
luxuries since I have been in Boston, and have drunk more 
champagne and other wines than for a year past in New York ; 
yet I would by far prefer a crust of Graham bread and black 


tea at home to them all. Yet I foresee that this excursion 
will amply compensate me for all the inconvenience which it 

The series of portraits of the Presidents, ordered by Mr. 
Reed, was presented by him to the Museum and Library in 
the Navy Yard, Brooklyn. Another series, duplicates, were 
kept by him for his own gallery, of which more will be said 
further on. 1 note here a passage in one of Mr. Reed's letters 
addressed to my father in Washington : — 

' The all-absorbing subject of my letters of yesterday and the day 
before occupied my mind so much that I did not even mention my 
portrait that you painted for Mr. Sturges. He has got it home and it 
is hung up ; it stands the test of the critics ; even PafF says that it is 
first-rate, and he, you know, spares nobody but the old masters.' 

Early in the previous year, 1834, Mr. George W. Flagg, 
a young man who had just made his debut in the art world, 
had produced several remarkable works which attracted Mr. 
Reed's attention. Recognising his talent and wishing to afford 
a young beginner every educational facility, he at once adopted 
him, as it were, and sent him to Europe, defraying all his 
expenses. The spirit which animated Mr. Reed — his solicitude, 
moral and material, for those he helped, his views of art and 
comments on it, which, if not always learned, are at least 
original and to the point — is apparent in the following letter 
to Mr. Flagg, dated March 9th, 1835: — 

4 My Dear Mr. Flagg, 

4 1 was quite delighted on receiving your letter, as it was the 
first intimation of your arrival in Paris. You say you like Paris better 
than London. I am much pleased to hear you denounce* the French 

* In the sense of criticise. 

G. W. FLAGG. 115 

school of painting ; pure, simple nature is the school, after all. You left 
here with a good idea of the general tone of colour, and I hope it may 
never be corrupted. You say you have become a great admirer of Paulo 
Veronese as well as Titian. I hope to see your execution as good as 
theirs some day. You have more to do than you are now aware of to 
satisfy your admirers in this country ; your fame stands higher here than 
any young artist's ever did at your age, and to keep pace with expectation 
will require all the efforts you can muster. I hope you will not turn off a 
picture until the work is masterly executed ; one picture finished in that 
way will be of more service to you than fifty that lack detail. You know 
my motto, " With application comes everything/' I really look to you 
to give a spur to art in this country — not by startling objects, gorgeous 
colouring, and a thousand incongruities to catch the eye of the vulgar, but 
by boldness of design, truth in expression, and simple arrangement of 
figures and colouring that shall bring out nature itself to view. Execution 
is an important point ; a cat well painted is better than a Venus badly 
done. My pride is at stake in your success, and you must not disappoint 
me. ... It is important to learn to judge correctly of your own works ; 
the opinions of most people will only be to flatter you, so little does 
the world care about real friendship ! Compare your works with 
Titian's, as if both were his, and then judge which is best. I bought 
a picture a few days ago by one of the old masters, Fyt, the subject 
" Dogs and Game," the size of life, a first-rate specimen of the art* 
and I must say that I never knew what could be done in painting before. 
The subject I do not admire, but as a work of art it is first-rate. I 
am now a believer in the old masters. You say that you should like 
to have me slip over to Paris and go with you to Florence. I should 
like it much, and some day or other I intend to travel over the ground 
and shall want you to go with me. Would you not derive more 
advantage by constant practice in Paris during your present stay in 
Europe, and then visit Italy after you have become more perfect in the 
art ? I expect you to come back much improved, because I think you 
have a mind for it. But I am sorry to say that improvement has not 

* This work, probably genuine, is now in the collection of Mr. Reed's 
pictures, preserved in the New York Historical Society building. 


been the result with most of the artists that have gone to the continent for 
that purpose ; they have come back with the exalted notion of having 
seen great works ; have looked, talked, and travelled away their time, and 
come back more ignorant than when they went away. These instances 
are familiar to you. They did not stick down in a place and apply them- 
selves. The art is not lost, talent is not deficient, nor is encouragement 
of merit wanting. I have set my heart on your success. I have boasted 
of your talent and of your great moral worth, and everybody that knows 
you looks forward to great things. I fear not the allurements of Paris. 
I know that your mind is above them. Fame is before you, but be 
careful that you do not overrate yourself; self-sufficiency is certain ruin. 
.... I want you to copy the likeness of Claude in the Louvre ; I want 
the portrait to hang up. I also want you to make for me drawings in 
crayon of three of the best antique statues in the Louvre. Wishing you 
health and happiness, I am your most 

'. Devoted friend, 

' Luman Reed.' 

Two months later Mr. Reed writes to my father in 
Boston : — 

' I am quite happy in being identified with you in your visit to Boston, 
and I hope we may often be identified together, if my being so will 
promote your interest and success in this naughty world. My young 
friend Flagg has returned from Europe brimful of enthusiasm ; he says that 
America is the place for him and he wants no better nature than we have 
to study from. Now I like this. Let us make something of ourselves 
out of our own materials and we shall be independent of others. It is all 
nonsense to say that we have not got the material. ... I hope your 
admirers in Boston will not draw off" your attachment from New York, as 
we cannot think of giving you up. ... I shall be glad to see you back. 
.... You are now, in my opinion, fairly under way in your new 
profession, and I believe your success is certain.' 

Mr. Reed's benefactions were not confined to painters. 
Long before the period in which the foregoing letters were 
written he had for a business neighbour a man who, through 


his aid, became a distinguished American artist in another 
branch of art, Mr. James H. Hackett, the well-known actor, 
living at a time when histrionic genius was more abundant and 
better understood than at the present day. Mr. Hackett, then 
a merchant occupying a warehouse alongside of Mr. Reed's, 
was remarkable for his comic stories ; in the dull hours of the 
business season he often dropped in on his neighbours and 
entertained them with his humour. Unsuccessful in business, 
he went on the stage at Mr. Reed's suggestion. 

' I found,' says Mr. Hackett, ' upon the occasion of my debut at the 
Park Theatre, over four hundred of the first merchants of New York, 
gathered and induced thither by my business neighbour, Mr. Reed, to 
afford me their countenance. He sought an interview repeatedly by calls 
at my home and importuned me to acquaint him with my condition, and 
to permit him to use his influence with my few creditors, each a personal 
friend of his, to effect a compromise.' 

Continuing the story in another letter Mr. Hackett adds, 
writing to his friend Mr. Charles M. Leupp : — 

1 My intimacy with that honest, industrious, single-hearted, simple- 
mannered, liberal-handed, and generous-minded philanthropist — one of the 
most modest, energetic, cordial, sincere, disinterested, and unostentatious 
of Nature's nobility — originated, as you have heard me describe, in 
1825-6, soon after my mercantile bankruptcy, when he unexpectedly 
and spontaneously, by his counsel and influence, and the temporary loan of 
a thousand dollars (to add to some three thousand I had made within 
a few weeks by adopting the stage in my despondency), relieved me from 
my liabilities to my creditors, and enabled me to extend the sphere of my 
new professional pursuits to other cities and countries without fear of 
molestation. "I thought, Hackett," said he, "if you were convinced by 
the personal countenance of some of the oldest merchants of New York, 
and which I could influence in your favour, that, though you had 
unfortunately lost your credit as a merchant, you still had, as a man, 


the respect of the community, you would be less endangered by your new 
associations of losing your own." As long as he lived he gave me his 
friendship, confidence, and social countenance in this community, each 
timely and of incalculable advantage. God knows how warmly I 
appreciated not only his persevering benefactions, but the pure, Christian- 
like motives which originally inspired his interference. My spirit seemed 
to him broken by my fortunes in trade, and which, neglected then, he 
feared might lead to loss of self-respect, carelessness of the opinion of the 
world, and consequent inability as well as unfitness to educate and furnish 
my three sons (three, five, and six years old), with a fair start on 
approaching manhood. When Mr. Reed, surprising me by his offer to 
try and succour my distress, mentioned that money would be necessary to 
add to what I had just earned in order to free me from my debts, some 
of them being in suit, and specified one thousand dollars, I inquired, 
" But how and when am I to obtain such an additional sum sooner than a 
few months hence, and from my new profession in which I am hardly 
embarked, whereas it must be had next week ? " Mr. Reed instantly 
replied, " I will lend it to you. And that you may still feel yourself free 
I will not take a scrap of paper in acknowledgment of the loan, nor 
mention it to my partner, my family, nor to any one. Call any day 
you please and I will hand you a bank-note." ' 

The loan was made and the money refunded in a couple 
of months. Mr. Hackett adds : — 

4 From the many acts of a similar nature which were done in secret by 
him, but detected after his too-early death, he must absolutely have gone 
about seeking opportunities for his benefaction, and earned many earthly 
blessings from the recipients of his bounty. But, if it should be asked, 
" What has such an incident to do with Fine Arts ? " Answer, " Much — 
the Pen aiding the Pencil to delineate the mental with the facial features, 
and thus illustrate Humanity." ' 

The foregoing documents suffice to give the reader a good 
idea of Mr. Reed's relations with artists in gratifying his 
noblest instincts, as well as of his influence in fostering their 


interests with the public. Further evidence of all this is found 
in his encouragement of other contemporary artists whose works 
he appreciated, and whose careers interested him to the same 
extent. His relations with Thomas Cole, the most prominent 
landscapist of his day, were equally intimate and fruitful. Mr. 
Cole, of English birth, came to the United States at a very 
early age, but afterwards returned to Europe, where his mind, 
impressed by the phenomena of old-world development in con- 
trast with that of the new world just starting in civilisation, 
conceived the idea of pictorially describing the ' Course of 
Empire,' as visible in the five stages of its secular growth — 
birth, progress, grandeur, decline, and end in ruin. The series 
of pictures painted by him begins with a landscape view, pre- 
served throughout the series, in which we observe successively 
primitive life in the dawn of day ; social progress in the morning 
hours ; architectural splendour, and the processional pageantry of 
imperial dominion in the full glare of noonday; war, conquest, 
and destruction in the decline of day ; and, finally, utter ruin 
at evening in the pale light of a rising moon, where naught 
that indicates empire remains on the landscape but a solitary 
column and the ineffaceable landmarks of nature. On Mr. 
Cole mentioning to Mr. Reed that he would like to paint 
such a subject, Mr. Reed told him to fix his price and go on 
with it. Mr. Cole named two thousand five hundred dollars, 
which sum Mr. Reed afterwards, on seeing the labour involved, 
voluntarily increased to four thousand five hundred dollars, 
besides giving the artist all the advantages of the exhibition of 
his work. Its effect on the public was very great, and notably 
in increasing the number of appreciators of native art. Among 
them may be mentioned Mr. Samuel Ward, who, later on, 


commissioned Mr. Cole to paint ' The Voyage of Life,' a 
similar series, and subsequently engraved by Mr. James Smillie. 

Next comes W. S. Mount. This young artist began his 
career in 1828, with, as usual, a Scripture subject, the 'Raising 
of the daughter of Jairus.' Again, as usual, nobody took a 
fancy to this picture and bought it. The following year he 
tempted the public with still another subject of the same class, 
' Saul and the Witch of Endor,' and, at the same time, 
descending the imaginative scale of ideas, ' Crazy Kate ' and 
' Celadon and Amelia,' both pictures meeting with the same 
fate. Finally, in 1830, after falling back on portraiture, in 
which he was more successful, Mount produced ' The Rustic 
Dance after a Sleigh-ride,' showing his powers on the humorous 
side of American rural life and the admiration of which by the 
public established his artistic position. In 1834 Mr. Reed and 
Mount became acquainted, and in 1835 we find him the owner 
of Mount's two masterpieces, ' Bargaining for a Horse ' and 
'Unruly Boys,' exhibited in 1836. After this Mount was 
never without a commission. 

Mr. Reed's encouragement of the artist's efforts at por- 
traiture, which led him to abandon engraving entirely, have 
been set forth. Meanwhile, having already painted one historical 
subject as early as 1833, which was exhibited in 1835 anc ^ soon 
disposed of (' The Capture of Major Andre '), my father, 
ambitious of pursuing art in that direction, painted for Mr. 
Reed ' The Wrath of Peter Stuyvesant ' and ' The Pedler, 
the latter a picture of local life suggested by Wilkie's treatment 
of similar subjects. In painting ' The Capture of Major Andre ' 
he conferred with Mr. J. K. Paulding, a descendant of one of 
the captors, in relation to costume and historical points, visited 


'On receiving these direful tidings (the taking of Fort Casimir) the valiant Peter started 
-jm hi. seat-dashed the p,pe he was smoking against the back' of the cWmnev thrS 

leproducedfrom the Original Picture, belonging to the Collection of the New Tork 
Gallery of Fine Arts, in the possession of the New Tork Historical Society 
Heliogravure Dujardin. Printed fo C. Wittmann, 

J air 

.TMA^avYUTa affiflo 1 aili" 

mre, in 

bsjiEla i»33 c l ansikv arb (liriahst) no! 'io gnbisl arb^nibij li/ioiib sbmH jiifflMsi ."8 , ,_ t . , r 
toutdt —ysnmido sril }o >bi.d aria ^ni^t gnbioim ssiy srl sqi ■.>._4]»g»ia\ciikHliC 

q'u 3 boi3a bne .anuUsgill'Bg siri qu bsTtuq— ab»ib fl?I air! ojni oastdo: 

'fkci »*v£ vVs> ««'rt«\\«b ^ <j\ i«\-js 

rt& \h^V(c\ut\ $a«1 <sn% vVs> vyAu.m.i^ *& \u ,iWK W&\\"\ 

i ng for 




the spot near Tarrytown where Andre was arrested, and, in 
the figures, had the advantage of depicting personages whose 
cast of feature and character were familiar to him. The picture 
is accordingly a complete expression of his powers in this line 
of art. Subsequently engraved, the figures by Alfred Jones 
and the landscape by James Smillie, distributed over the country 
by the American Art Union, often copied on signs and in other 
rude ways, it seems to have become the standard representation 
of the subject. In the ' Wrath of Peter Stuyvesant,' imaginary 
in all respects, he invents characters and accessories. The 
humour of the scene, which is of most consequence artistically, 
cannot be mistaken. The ire and energy of the old Dutch 
governor, in contrast with the patient attention of the dumpy 
and rubicund trumpeter, Anthony van Corlaer, and the fright 
of the tall half-breed ' Indian, leave little to be desired. As 
early attempts in an historical line, these works cannot be over- 
looked in the history and development of national art. Other 
works of the same order will be noted farther on. All that 
now remains in completing this chapter is to narrate the closing 
circumstances of Mr. Reed's career. 

As usual with the typical commercial man, Mr. Reed, on 
becoming wealthy, built a fine house in the lower part of the 
city. But it was not a palace. On the contrary, his residence, 
in style of architecture and the arrangement of the interior, 
conformed to the habits and mode of life of his contemporaries, 
and differed from other dwellings only in being more com- 
modious and better constructed, the materials being of the 
very best quality and the mechanics employed ' the best that 
money could procure.' One feature of it that made it unique 
was an upper story devoted to a collection of paintings pro- 



cured, in the main, during the erection of the house, and for 
which Mr. Reed had made no provision on laying its founda- 
tions. In any event, the third story, before the house was 
finished, was adapted to the purposes of a picture-gallery, as 
well as this could be done without a skylight in the roof. 
When the building was completed the pictures were duly hung. 
During this operation it occurred to Mr. Reed that the effect 
of the gallery would be improved by painting the doors, all of 
them blank spaces among the pictures, in harmony with the 
general tone of colour which prevailed on the walls. Accord- 
ingly he commissioned Cole, Mount, Flagg, and my father, 
whose works were suspended there, to execute designs in this 
sense. In this connexion, as well as giving one of Mr. Reed's 
judicious observations on the art which he called into being, 
the following letter to Mr. Flagg, dated December 30th, 1835, 
may be cited : — 

' I look for you about the first of the month, and shall expect you 
to stay with me some time and paint in the gallery. The life-school 
is open at the Academy, and you can avail yourself of that if you wish. 
Mount has painted another picture for me, which, in some parts, shows a 
perfection in the art which I did not expect to see so soon from any one. 
I do not believe that Ostade or Teniers ever did anything better than 
some parts of the picture.' 

Another detail of this gallery must be recorded — it was 
open one day in the week to visitors. This circumstance, the 
first of its kind, and that of the decoration of the gallery, 
simple facts in themselves, indicate both the unconventional 
way in which Mr. Reed carried out his plans, as well as his 
ability and disposition to foster the growing interest of the 
public in art. 


The foregoing narration, it is hoped, gives a clear idea of 
the character of this eminent commercial man and patron of 
American art. The following account of the illness which 
terminated his career in the prime of life shows the appre- 
ciation of him by the artists whom he had so sympathetically 
and nobly befriended. Mr. Reed and my father in the spring 
of 1836 were to have visited Mr. Cole, who lived at Catskill. 
Instead of going, however, my father thus writes to Mr. Cole 
under date of May 12th, 1836 : — 

' I am sorry to say that we are prevented from paying you 
the promised visit by the sickness of Mr. Reed. He was taken 
very violently the morning you left, and the first favourable 
appearances are to-day. . . . His disease is said to be remit- 
tent fever with inflammation of the liver. I have not seen him 
since he was taken down, and although it is not yet three 
days it has seemed to me like weeks, so heavily and painfully 
has the time passed. I doubt not that you will look with 
the same anxiety as myself to the happy moment of his recovery. 
God grant that it may not be long. I will not trouble you 
with the many melancholy reflections that have come over me 
during the short interval since parting from you, and only say 
that I will write again in a few days if Mr. Reed is not able 
to write you himself.' 

Three days later, adding a postscript, he says : ' By keeping 
this letter till this morning I am able to add a bit more of 
comfort. I have just been to Mr. Reed's and find him con- 
siderably better ; and although I would be cautious in indulging 
in joyful feeling, I cannot but feel a little lightened of a 
grievous burden, so much so that I could scarcely keep from 
singing aloud as I returned up Broadway to add this postscript 


for you. . . . You know, my dear friend, that I alone am 
not an interested individual in this matter. I dare not think 
on the desolation that his loss would occasion.' 

On the 20th of May he reports that the patient is better, 
but unable to sit up ' in consequence of the great prostration 
of the system by profuse bleeding.' May 25th, he adds, 'I 
have at length had the pleasure of seeing our friend for the 
first time on Sunday, and again to-day. . . . He desires to be 
particularly remembered to you, thinks of you constantly, and 
says that it is his greatest satisfaction to know that he has such 
good friends. Could I find words to express the interest I feel, 
for one, in that friend, I would attempt it, but your own heart 
will best conceive it. Suffice it to say that, although taught 
by experience to be cautious of enjoyments proceeding from 
attachments of the heart, having suffered all the agony of 
bereavement, I still find myself so deeply attached to him that 
the very thought of his loss fills me with a gloom and sadness 
which almost unfits me for the common duties of the day.' 

One more letter is dated June 7th, 1836 : — 

' The fatal hour has come. Our dear friend is dead. The 
funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon. Come and look 
for the last time on the man whose equal we never shall see 
again. I can say no more. 

' Yours in deepest sorrow, 

'A. B. DURAND.' 

On learning the sad intelligence from my father, Mr. Mount 
writes : — 

'I have received your letter of the nth inst., informing me of the 
death of our best friend, Mr. Luman Reed. The more I think of him, 


the more sorrowful I feel that he is taken away from us. How pleasing 
he" was in his address ! How well he understood the feelings of the 
artists ! He was one we shall always love to remember.' 

Mr. George W. Flagg expresses like sentiments, adding, — 

' He was indeed a father to me, ever ready to cheer me on ; and 
often, by his counsel and affectionate encouragement, has he imparted new 
zeal to my waning efforts, and again renewed my fondest hopes of success. 
How cheerfully and liberally have I been assisted by his bounty ! I had 
hoped, one day, to have shown him that the advantages I derived there- 
from are not bestowed in vain. But this hope is now taken from me 
without having the satisfaction of seeing him in his last moments, to thank 
and ask Heaven's blessing on him. Death has snatched him from us, and 
you, with many others, as well as myself, must feel the void that cannot 
be filled.' 

Many testimonials to Mr. Reed's worth outside the artistic 
circle might be given ; but as this is to be shown in another way, 
I pass them to dwell for a moment on the effect of Mr. Reed's 
example. One instance has already been stated in the case of 
the commission given by Mr. Samuel Ward to Mr. Cole for the 
' Voyage of Life,' stimulated by the success of the ' Course of 
Empire.' More striking evidence of it appears in the following 
facts. Two years after Mr. Reed's death, the exhibitions of the 
National Academy of Design displayed nearly double the number 
of works contributed by nearly twice the number of artists that 
are found in those of the two previous years. In ten years, 
private collections containing American works alone were rapidly 
formed and continued to increase, among which those of Mr. 
Jonathan Sturges, Mr. A. M. Cozzens, Mr. C. M. Leupp, 
Mr. Thomas H. Faile, Mr. R. M. Oliphant, Mr. Marshall O. 
Roberts, and others, members of the Sketch Club, or business 
associates of Mr. Reed, are most conspicuous. Lastly, many 


institutions had sprung up in New York, where available capital 
for art and a liberal public spirit had immensely increased and 
given the city an artistic reputation throughout the country. 
Most conspicuous is the ' American Art Union,' founded in 
1840, whose subscribers were obtained in all parts of the Union, 
and which distributes broadcast among them hundreds of works 
by native artists, together with large original engravings illus- 
trative of local life and history, and which could not otherwise 
have been published. At length, in honour of Mr. Reed, the 
' New York Gallery of Fine Arts ' came into being. This 
institution, the history of which is briefly narrated below, arose 
not only in commemoration of him and his services in the cause 
of native art, but was intended to be the nucleus of a free public 
museum for the city of New York. Before entering on the 
details of its short career, it is sufficient to state, with regard 
to Luman Reed and the beneficent effect of his example, that 
in his time and generation he made native art the fashion. 
Except in the encouragement of local art on a grander scale, 
it may be observed that no European potentate, possessing the 
will and the power to foster art, surpassed him in spirit or in 
act ; the superiority of papal or royal amateurs consisted wholly 
in superior resources. In conclusion, I quote an anonymous 
appreciation of Mr. Reed, taken from a newspaper the year of 
his death : — 

' It is well to tell the young artist who has to make his way 
in this country that his art once had a generous friend who 
sought to advance its interests by considering the feelings and 
capacities of its votaries. This was encouragement of the right 
stamp. To call Mr. Reed a patron of art in the usual acceptation 
of the word is to give a feeble idea of his usefulness and of the 


spirit which animated him. He aimed to smooth the path of 
art for those who travelled it by letting them pursue it as was 
most agreeable to themselves. If he ever sought to point the 
way by making suggestions or requesting favours, it was done 
with that consideration for the artist's inclinations which made 
it gratifying to oblige him. It was not alone this motive, 
however, which prompted an acquiescence with his views. 
Though not possessing an educated judgment, he had a natural 
pictorial perception and good taste which were almost always 
in sympathy with the more extended knowledge of his artistic 
friends. A gentleman observing his munificence once remarked 
to him, " These pictures, Mr. Reed, must have cost considerable 
money." " They did," he replied ; " the outlay is my pleasure 
— I like it; besides," his eye lighting up as he spoke, "the 
artists are my friends, and it is the means of encouragement 
and support to better men than myself." ' 

The testimonial in honour of Luman Reed, intended to show 
the estimate of him by his contemporaries — unfortunately not 
successful — is the establishment of the New York Gallery of 
Fine Arts. Four years after his death, it became necessary to 
close his estate and dispose of his art treasures : the idea occurred 
to his friends and beneficiaries to secure their purchase by a 
subscription among Mr. Reed's business associates who, recog- 
nising his superior ability as a merchant, would be glad to honour 
his character and career in this way. This idea was matured 
and carried out. A subscription was opened, and thirteen 
thousand dollars, the amount required for the purpose, was 
immediately obtained. Mr. Theodore Allen, son-in-law of 
Mr. Reed, in concurrence with others, devised the plan of the 
institution ; Mr. Jonathan Sturges, Mr. Reed's partner, was made 


president of it, which function involved the contribution of most 
of the preparatory funds necessary for its establishment ; Mr. 
Thomas H. Faile, who contributed the rest, was made treasurer. 
Fifty trustees, mostly wholesale grocers, along with other pro- 
minent merchants, constituted nominally a board of control — 
which rarely met — while the fundamental idea for the main- 
tenance of the institution, as far as revenue was concerned, 
consisted of a membership, obtainable by anybody on the pay- 
ment of one dollar for life. It was thought that for such a 
trifling sum the people would flock to the exhibition en masse. 
Ten thousand certificates of membership were made ready for 
' the rush.' The next object was to secure the favourable help 
of the press, which was easily accomplished. The claims of the 
institution to public support, with a programme of its purpose, 
and a list of the fifty trustees attached to it, were presented, 
among other editors, to Mr. James Gordon Bennett, of the New 
York Herald. Mr. Bennett read it over, and on doing so, 
slowly and gruffly remarked, ' Why, these people know more 
about pork and molasses than they do about art ! ' ' Yes, that 
is true, Mr. Bennett,' was the reply, ' but they give the money. 
' Well,' said he, ' I'll notice it,' and he did the following day. 
Next came the problem of an exhibition-room. A suitable 
building would require a large endowment — which was not to 
be thought of. The National Academy of Design, then occupying 
the upper stories of the Society Library building on the corner 
of Franklin Street and Broadway, loaned its rooms for the first 
display of the collection. Finally, it was suggested that it would 
be well to apply to the municipal corporation for the ' Rotunda,' 
built by Vanderlyn in 1 8 17 at the north-east corner of the park, 
on city property, for his exhibition purposes, now unoccupied, 


and which might be had, probably, free of rent. At that time 
Mr. James Harper, lately elected as a reform candidate, was 
Mayor, and it was feared that he would oppose the application 
on the score of the impropriety of giving public property for 
private purposes. His favourable consent, however, was soon 
obtained. The next difficulty consisted in getting the Common 
Council to pass a Bill sanctioning the grant. Some bribery 
was used and a good deal of ' lobbying.' Besides this, speeches 
had to be made by the aldermen in favour of it. One of these 
was Mr. Abraham Cozzens, of hotel celebrity ; ' posted ' on the 
history of art by his son, Mr. A. M. Cozzens, he became so 
entangled and confused in his argumentative use of Greek and 
Renaissance terms and facts as to endanger the success of the 
Bill had this depended on what he said. The Bill passed, 
nevertheless, with only one stipulation, that the building should 
be vacated, on due notice, whenever wanted. As soon as its 
possession was ensured, repairs and improvements were made, 
in the shape of a division of the interior into two stories, and 
the pictures were hung. To add to the interest of the collection, 
presents and loans were obtained from artists and others. ' The 
New York Gallery of Fine Arts ' accordingly existed. Here 
were quarters which, if tenable for ever, might have sufficed for 
the maintenance of the institution. But events did not shape 
that way. The expected ' rush ' of the masses did not take 
place. One thousand certificates of membership were with 
difficulty given away or sold ; but never was enough money 
obtained to pay expenses. In answer to an inquiry one day by 
one of the trustees, reminded of the existence of the exhibition 
only by a chance encounter with an official, ' How does that 
thing get along?' he replied, mournfully, 'Not at all.' Neither 


members nor officers (except the two above named) cared enough 
about the institution to attend an election of its officers ; on 
the last election that took place one vote only was cast. After 
an unmolested occupancy of the Rotunda for about two years, 
the Common Council ordered its evacuation and it was given 
up. During this period Mr. Sturges and Mr. Faile supplied 
the deficiencies of income; the former, satisfied that it was useless 
to try to maintain an institution of this stamp, then took steps 
to close it. Arrangements were made with the New York 
Historical Society to accept the collection on condition that the 
rights and privileges of members should be guaranteed. Thus 
did the New York Gallery of Fine Arts end its days as an 
independent institution. The collection of works of art made 
by Mr. Reed now reposes in the attic of a building where no 
ray of sunlight ever reaches the pictures, and where the few 
who visit it know nothing of the origin and purpose of the 

U 1 


A Turning-point in Life — Figure-subjects — ' High Art ' — Ch racter of Exhibi- 
tions — The ' Hanging Committee ' Criticised — -Various Features of Art — - 
Ithiel Town — An Old Lady — P. T. Barnum — City and Country Life 
Compared — The ' Mecca ' of an Artist. 

THE above period of four years, in which my father 
became a painter, may be called the turning-point of 
his life. Before this he had been merely groping his 
way. The advent of Mr. Reed enabled him to discard fears 
and doubts, for he now felt that he could change his pro- 
fession without risk. Disappointment and sorrow, due to the 
loss of Mr. Reed, somewhat checked his course, deprived as 
he was of encouragement in the line of art he preferred : his 
taste tended towards figure-painting through previous practice 
in drawing and designing, and this taste Mr. Reed had 
fostered. He soon found that there was no one possessing 
the same comprehensive, liberal, and generous spirit to take 
his place. Our artist, accordingly, had to rely — as before on 
engraving — on the natural inspiration of the community and 
accommodate himself to its taste. Meanwhile he had gained 
some reputation in portraiture, which would ensure him a 
livelihood, and likewise as a landscape-painter — a branch of art 
that now began to obtain a foothold in the community, as we 
see in the success of Cole. He was not discouraged ; on the 
contrary, he laid down the graver and took up the brush with 
renewed ardour — not that of an inexperienced and reckless 


youth, but of a self-reliant man in the prime of life and 
fully aware of the risks he was to encounter. 

Sufficient notice has been taken of the figure-subjects 
executed by the artist up to this period. Purely tentative 
before Mr. Reed came on the stage, those which were painted 
for him only can be considered as professional work. The 
following subjects, executed afterwards to please himself, com- 
plete the list. In 1837 he painted two pictures that have 
since been destroyed in accordance with his desire : one a 
' Ruth and Naomi,' begun in Florence, and the other ' Healing 
the Possessed,' painted after his return from Europe, the latter 
an ambitious composition representing Christ casting out devils, 
in which the principal figure is the maniac at the feet of the 
Saviour. These may be called his last attempts at c high art.' 
In 1838 he painted for Mr. Ogden Haggerty 'Rip van 
Winkle introduced to the crew of Hendrick Hudson in the 
Catskill Mountains ' — a ghostly assembly playing ninepins in 
a low, weird, supernatural light, the effect of which, together 
with the humour of the scene, were adequately rendered. One 
of my father's favourite ideas had been the possibility of 
combining figures and landscape together so as to make each 
equally interesting, and not, as usual, depicting the latter as a 
mere background to the former. One case of this kind has 
already been mentioned, the figures, however, being portraits. 
Another instance is ' A Dance on the Battery in presence of 
Peter Stuyvesant,' painted for Mr. Thomas Hall Faile. In 
spite of certain technical defects, the grouping and action of 
the youthful dancers, the out-door effect, the gaiety of the 
scene, and the benevolent expression of the old governor, 
express the spirit of the subject. The last of his perform- 



your Excellency think that I have exposed my life and Masted my.chara.cte> 
- y Not a dolIar of y° ur gold will I touch." The -bag tell at the feet of 


r, Z^ £m f embei ^ ?° U r/ h }> and Cares - l have told .V° u that the characters of mer who 
fidelTt" " '" depem1 ° n y ° Ur S£CreCy; What ^ »» * S ive th ™ of yo,r 

« Jl" f h TeH 'W said 4 Birch > fdvancmg and unconsciously resting one foot oh the ba e 
tell them that I would not take the gold." '-The Spy, by J. Fenxmok* Cooper. 

Reproduced Jrom the Original Picture in the possession of Miss Fanny Gillie 
W^ntgtony DC Helifpravkre Dujardin. Printed by C. Wiimdnr 


accordance wil 
I Florence, and the 

tited after his return from Europe, the latter 
i\/h VmwmwiA « /.Aamim. Mdw^CkHslt'saidbg out devils, 
.Hu>na v.r./jif.ii, ; ac at the f eet f the 

sssft twf * wu *»«;&.■ hi § h art ' 



:sence of 

aile. In 

I action of 

gaiety of the 

id governor, 

his perform- 


ances in this direction, painted some years afterwards, will be 
mentioned later on. His most successful attempt in historical 
art was a small picture entitled ' Last Interview between 
Harvey Birch and Washington,' exhibited in 1843 an d engraved 
for one of the Annuals. This was a picture for which he 
was able to secure models ; its success indicates a certain pro- 
ficiency and excites regret that he was obliged to abandon 
historical art. Bought by the American Art Union, it fell 
into the hands of the Hon. George P. Marsh. It is well to 
note in this connexion that the literature and art of the new 
country went hand in hand. 

The dominance of portraiture in the art of the day, and 
the reason for it, has already been dwelt on. The lover of a 
portrait is the type of the local patron of art. Few picture- 
buyers at that time ever got beyond that point. As the 
exhibitions of the National Academy of Design annually pre- 
sented the artistic harvest of the season, and as the majority 
of works exhibited were portraits, this fact denotes the natural 
taste of the public. The exhibitions were, of course, extremely 
monotonous. The complaint was often heard, ' Why don't 
artists paint something else ? ' Nevertheless, portraiture brought 
the friends of its subjects to the exhibition, and, consequently, 
a crowd which put money into the purse of the National 
Academy of Design. Many of these portraits possessed great 
merit. Those of ladies by Ingham, remarkable for feminine 
refinement, always secured marked attention. The portraits of 
Inman, as well as those by Sully, Morse, and Page, met 
with the same favour. Development in other branches of art 
kept pace, in a measure, with portraiture. Landscapes increased 
in number, and occasionally a picture in the exhibition by a 


foreign artist added to the variety of attractive art. In the 
way of local landscapes, there were the works of Hoyle, 
Doughty, and especially Cole. Add to these the contribu- 
tions in figure-subjects of Weir, Chapman, and Mount, with 
those of Inman. The school of American art was now fully 
established. Soon a new generation of artists sprang up, and 
the exhibitions became more complete and popular. No pictures 
were refused ; on the contrary, the town was ransacked for 
them. Anybody that could daub a canvas with colour and 
produce any sort of pictorial effect was deemed an artist, 
and his productions were welcome. The Press, it must be 
noted, now began to entertain the public with art, not editorially 
or by criticism, but in the way of complaints by anonymous 
correspondents. In the spring of 1838 our artist, who had 
the misfortune to be on the ' Hanging Committee ' of the 
Academy, became the subject of newspaper attack, as narrated 
in the following letter to Mr. Cole : — 

' Since you left here the current of things has not brought 
much within my view of an agreeable character that has not 
been more than overbalanced by its opposite ; still, I am 
plodding on in spite of wind or weather, urged on by the 
charmer, Hope, " whatever ills betide." I am the chief scape- 
goat of the notorious hanging committee of the Academy, or, 
rather, I am believed, myself alone, to be that multitudinous 
animal, the Council, with seven heads and ten horns, if one 
may judge by an article in the Standard. Our long-cherished 
institution has imbibed the disorganizing contagion that has 
so long prevailed in the political community ; its hitherto 
healthy growth is impeded, I fear, for ever. Every day dis- 
closes some additional subject of complaint ; the most un- 


charitable construction is put on the conduct of the Council, 
and, without witness or jury, the soi-disant judges of the day 
pronounce awful sentences of condemnation — " Partiality," 
" favouritism," " keeping down young artists," " hoisting up 
Academicians ;" " Why are such vile daubs placed on the line 
and such artistic productions left to blush unseen in the shade ? " 
The secret of all this is the influx of mediocre talent and the 
hot-bed fermentation visible among juvenal* artists to ripen 
before their time, and by unnatural means generated by the ill- 
judged zeal of interested friends or unenlightened admirers.' 

But such are the common experiences of people who work 
for the public. In the same letter he adds, ' The times are 
dull.' No Mr. Reed existed to stimulate him ; nevertheless, 
the impulse he gave to art was still operative, and my father 
still had sufficient employment. Among the lovers of art of 
the day, and a special friend, Mr. Jonathan Sturges, partner 
of Mr. Reed and the inheritor of his artistic purposes, was 
the most conspicuous. Besides executing portraits and land- 
scapes for his collection, my father owed him advantages which 
will be stated further on. Another prominent aid was Mr. 
Frederick J. Betts, living at Newburgh, where adjoining his 
house he had built a gallery for paintings. My father executed 
for this gentleman several portraits, a landscape called ' Saturday 
Afternoon,' and two others, ' Morning and Evening of Life,' of 
larger dimensions than /Usual and exhibited in 1840. Other 
works of the same character were painted and disposed of. 
' Western Emigrants ' and ' The Rainbow,' purchased by two 
amateurs of Cincinnati ; ' The Stranded Ship,' painted for Mr. 
James Brown of New York ; a ' Sailing Party/ and others, 
* ' Most brisky juvenal.' — Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 3, Sc. 1. 


which found sympathetic appreciators. All these works belong 
to the ideal class, in which the artist's brush is free. In 
addition to these he painted two ' portrait-landscapes,' which 
indicate the sort of art patronage that springs out of personal 
associations, and which illustrate the kind of public taste a 
painter must sometimes gratify. The following extract from a 
letter of a certain ' patron ' shows its character : — 

1 My brother is determined that you shall paint a picture for him of 
this village. The point from which the picture is to be taken is about 

one mile west. I have been there to-day with my friend Mrs. , 

and we have settled that the subject is without doubt the finest in 
creation, to say nothing of the additional interest of its being our native 

The other ' portrait -landscape ' was commissioned by Mr. 
Ithiel Town, an architect and possessor of a library, who 
stipulated that my father should accept pay for it in rare old 
books The same person likewise ordered a characteristic land- 
scape of Cole on the same terms. My father was to paint a 
view of ' Athens in Greece,' according to a restoration of the 
ancient city as depicted in a well-known engraving, which was 
to be pasted on a canvas and serve as the drawing of the 
subject. All that he had to do that could be called original 
was to add colour and atmospheric effect. It is sufficient to 
state that he accomplished the task to the satisfaction of the 
party concerned, and that, in the course of time, the painting 
fell into the hands of a picture-dealer and was consumed in a 
conflagration of his premises. 

The following extract, from a letter by Mr. Cole, shows the 
character and fate of the commission he was favoured with : — 

* Do you know I have received a letter from Mr. Town, telling me 


that neither he nor his friends like the picture I have painted for him, 
desiring [expecting] me to paint another in place of it, composed of rich 
and various landscape, history, and architecture of different styles and 
ages — these are his own words — ancient or modern Athens. This 
letter is interlarded with fulsome panegyrics on my excellence in such 
pictures : " My friend Cole is celebrated for painting rich landscapes 
and architecture, history, &c, intermixed." You and I painting modern 
and ancient Athens with the aid of prints, " full of poetry or reality, 
and full of the most intense interest to everybody of literary character 
who should behold them" — and full of trumpery if they resembled this 
twaddle. For this trashy stuff — after I have painted him a picture as 
near as I could accommodate my pictorial ideas to his prosaic volumi- 
nousness — a picture of immense labour, at a much lower price than I 
have painted pictures of the same amount of labour for several years 
past — he expects me again to spend weeks and weeks after the uncertain 
shadow of his appreciation ! I will not do it, and I have written to 
him to say that I would rather give back his books and consider the 
commission as null than [repeat] it on such precarious terms. The 
picture was painted for him and is his. . . . On this subject I will 
say no more, but beware when you paint for the same patron.' 

Another example of this sort of taste is pertinent. One 
day a genteel old lady with a bundle of engravings under her 
arm called upon my father, and introduced herself by stating 
that she wished to engage him to paint a landscape for her. 
She had always admired his trees, and wanted a picture com- 
posed mainly of these objects. Unrolling her engravings she 
pointed to a group in one of them which pleased her very 
much, also another group in another engraving which was to 
be copied and placed in front of that group. In one corner 
of the picture a thicket was to be introduced, from which a 
lion was to be seen rushing towards a river with a lamb on 
the shore. The sky was not to occupy much space ; the rest 
of the canvas should be filled with trees. She had made a 



tracing of a stump which she greatly admired, and this was to 
appear somewhere in the foreground. The river was to be 
called the Jordan, and John the Baptist with the Saviour were 
to be seen standing up to their knees in the water. On my 
father remarking that these models, copied indiscriminately from 
works by Rubens, Poussin, Claude, and other modern painters, 
were not consistent with Oriental history, she replied that ' any 
other baptism would do as well.' Finally, on his declining the 
commission, she regretted this very much, as she had been 
reflecting on the design for two years, and had brought the 
material with her to save the artist trouble. 

Another would-be patron of art, one of the notabilities 
of the time, must not be overlooked. The following letter, 
accompanied by a prospectus, of which extracts are given 
below,* explains itself: — 

c Barnum's American Museum, 

'New York, June 21, 1855. 
1 A. B. Durand, Esq. 

1 Dear Sir, — At the proper time I should like you to paint 
one or more of the Premium Portraits for the Gallery of Beauty, and 

* ' An eminent publishing house in Paris is engaged in issuing a series of 
the most distinguished Female Beauties in the world, which, when completed, 
is to include Ten of the most beautiful ladies in the United States and the 
Canadas. In order to obtain such specimens of American beauty as will 
compare favourably with any that the Old World can produce, as well, also, 
as to secure in a permanent form a Gallery of Original Portraits, unequalled in 
the world for graceful perfection, and at the same time encourage a more 
popular taste for the Fine Arts, stimulate to extra exertion the genius of our 
Painters, and laudably gratify the public curiosity, the subscriber will give 
over Five Thousand Dollars in Premiums. To accomplish these objects, he 
proposes that every person having a fair friend (single or married) whom he 
believes competent to compete for the premiums and eclat embraced in this 
enterprise, shall forward to him (free of expense) her photograph or daguerreo- 

P. r. BARNUM. 139 

will thank you to write me immediately, in confidence, naming your 
lowest terms. 

' As the premiums will necessarily be a source of inordinate expense 
to me, I hope you will be as considerate as you can in the price 

' It is, perhaps, unnecessary for me to mention that the exhibition 
of these portraits will afford an excellent opportunity to enhance your 
already well-earned popularity, as each portrait will bear the name of its 
distinguished artist. 

' Truly yours, 

' P. T. Barnum.' 

One of my father's inferior works, picked up at auction, 
chanced to find its way into a private collection, where, in 
comparison to other works, it did him great injustice. He 
accordingly addressed a note to the owner of it, offering to 
substitute a superior picture. The following is the reply : — 

' .... As to the picture, I have always thought better of this 

type. A sealed envelope must accompany each portrait, enclosing the address 
(with or without the real name of the fair original), furnishing the colour of 
her eyes, the shade of her complexion, and a small lock of her hair, in order 
that the artists may do their celebrity and their subjects justice in executing 
the subsequent Gallery of Oil Paintings. Of these envelopes, none except 
those accompanying the one hundred likenesses that receive the Premiums will 
be opened ; and although no lady's name will be exacted as a right, it is hoped 
that those to whom the Premiums may be awarded, will not ultimately object 
to allow their real names to be attached to the Oil Portraits, and published in 
the French World's Book of Female Beauty, . . . Every visitor, on entering the 
gallery devoted to the daguerreotypes, shall receive a slip of paper, upon which 
he or she may mark down the particular numbers of the one hundred (or less) 
portraits, out of the entire collection, which he or she may conceive best entitled 
to premiums. As the visitor passes out, this slip shall be taken and deposited 
in a box at the door, under the close supervision of a special receiver. Each 
lady who may secure one of the ten highest premiums, will be desired to sit, to 
the best artist in the city nearest to her residence, who will paint her portrait, 
from life, for the French publication, at the expense of the subscriber.' 

i 4 o LIFE OF A. B. BUR AND. 

specimen than I know you have done. Some day, when I meet with 
a first-class, A I, super-extra, super-interesting and characteristic Durand, 
I will lay my sacrilegious paws upon it; but I am hard to suit, for I 
require not only fine artistic qualities, but also interest in the subject ; 
then it must suit me ; and then it must work in with my other pictures 
and subjects. For these reasons it happens that I generally stumble 
accidentally on the pictures I buy, but don't find them when I go to 
look for a particular thing. Hoping for success some time, — I remain, 

Mr. Cole and my father, both labourers in the same pro- 
fessional field, and subject to the same trials and social conditions, 
the former living in the charming Catskill region, and the latter 
in the uncongenial city, corresponded regularly and sometimes 
compared notes. The following extracts from two letters afford 
a glimpse of their respective moods, and may interest some of 
my readers, especially artists. My father writes : — 

' I am still willing to confess myself a trespasser on your 
ground, though, I trust, not a poacher ; landscape still occupies 
my attention. If the public don't wish me to take their heads, 
I will, like a free horse, take my own, and " ope the expanding 
nostril to the breeze." Now, if there be a man on earth whose 
location together with whose locomotive powers I envy, it is 
Thomas Cole ! I am free to say that, were I so circumstanced, 
and still in possession of my present combustibility of nerve and 
certain other impetuosities, the seven-league boots of Jack the 
Giant-killer would not even be desirable. This miserable little 
pen, enclosing 250,000 human animals or more, should no longer 
hold me to swell the number ; the vast range of this beautiful 
creation should be my dwelling-place, the only portion of which 
I can at present avail myself being the neighbourhood of 
Hoboken, which I am permitted to strip of its trees and 


meadows two or three times a week, and for which I am 
indeed thankful. How do you get on?' 
Mr. Cole replies :— 

' I am sorry that you are at times so much depressed in spirits. 
You must come to live in the country. Nature is a sovereign remedy. 
Your expression is the result of debility; you require the pure air of 
heaven. You sit (I know you do) in a close, air-tight room, toiling, 
stagnating, and breeding dissatisfaction at all you do, when if you had 
the untainted breeze to breathe, your body would be invigorated, your 
spirits buoyant, and your pictures would even charm yourself. This is 
not exaggeration — there is much sober truth in it. You speak of the 
want of proper excitement. I am of the opinion that in the city more 
excitement is necessary than in the country ; and particularly so to 
artists like ourselves. In the city we are surrounded by our fellow- 
men and we feel their presence ; we labour for their approbation, and 
require that stimulant frequently. But in the country we labour under 
more healthy influences. The desire to produce excellence feeds the 
flame of our enthusiasm, and I believe the product is worthier than 
that which is wrought out to the approbation of the many around us. 
In the country we have necessarily to defer the reward of the appro- 
bation of our fellows, and have time to examine critically our own 
works and form a judgment of our own that cannot be jostled out by 
that of every new observer. You will think me sermonising ; but I 
merely wish to convince you that, provided you could consistently leave 
the city, you would be better in health and spirits, and I am sure if you 
would pitch your tent near me, I should also be benefited — so there 
you see I come in with a little selfishness at last ! ' 

Circumstances were not favourable to my father's removal 
to the country. On the contrary, a city life, however distasteful 
to him, became more imperative than ever on account of his 
profession of a portrait-painter, which obliged him to dwell 
where his sitters dwelt. For his friend Cole, exclusively a 
landscape-painter, the country afforded every advantage. Again, 

1 42 LIFE OF A. B. BUR AND. 

early in this period — 1834 — my father married his second wife, 
Mary Frank, daughter of Jacob Frank, Esq., which rendered a 
removal to the country impracticable. Always in quest of 
picturesque materia] in summer, and leading a sort of nomadic 
life for eight years, often separated from his children, and, again, 
the owner of a house, he was only too glad to return to it, 
especially as it was now within the city limits. He accordingly 
took possession of his old home in 1838, where he was to 
remain for thirty-one years. Two years later he added a studio, 
and considered himself settled for life. 

Europe is the Mecca of an American artist. Every painter 
and sculptor longs to make this pilgrimage, and, indeed, finds 
it indispensable for the completion of his education. A writer 
may develop his mental faculties in libraries containing the 
literary masterpieces of the greatest intellects of all nations; he 
can here study their methods and style, comprehend their motives 
and ideas, and commune with them in their books mind to mind. 
The artist to commune with the master-minds of his profession 
must see the works actually executed by them, real and not 
abstract products of their brain, and learn from them directly ; 
not until he stands in front of the paintings on the walls of 
the great galleries of Europe and studies the forms and colour 
which the artists' own hands have placed on the canvas, does 
he find the libraries that furnish professional knowledge and 
show him the modes, compass, and depth of artistic thought. 
The time had now come for the artist to go abroad. Thanks 
to the facilities afforded him by his friend, Mr. Jonathan Sturges, 
who relieved him from the financial cares of the journey, he was 
able to undertake it, and to this we now turn. 



Tour in Europe — Steamer Life — George Combe — ' Old Masters ' in London — 
C. R. Leslie — Sir David Wilkie — Appreciation of the English School of 
Art — A Masquerade — London and the Country — Switzerland — Italy — 
Works executed in Florence — Claude Lorraine — Life in Rome — Voyage 
Home — Icebergs — Arrival. 

FOUR years had elapsed since, through the advent of 
ocean steamers, a voyage to Europe had been rendered 
easy, comfortable, and, it may be added, commonplace. 
Travellers in foreign lands on returning home were no longer 
regarded with awe — now alone accorded to the explorers of the 
Dark Continent. People crossed the ' big ferry ' with com- 
paratively little risk, were rarely robbed abroad except by hotel- 
keepers, kept journals, returned home and resumed their daily 
avocations, without becoming, as formerly, when ocean navi- 
gation was thought perilous and bandits abounded on the 
Continent, either heroes or c lions.' Some crossed for pleasure, 
many for business, and few, as nowadays, for instruction alone. 
My father belonged to the latter class. Fortunately he kept a 
journal in the style of letters, afterwards transcribed in his 
correspondence, and as the experiences and observations therein 
recorded reveal character, opinions, and sentiments, I quote 
freely from it. 

In company with his young artist friends, Messrs. Casilear, 
Kensett, and Rossiter, he sailed for London in the steamer 
British Queen, June i, 1840. The journal begins on board 


the steamer, ' with a degree of composure of mind quite 
unexpected after the painful parting from family and friends.' 
A rose given him by his youngest daughter is recorded the 
next day as ' still fresh and fragrant ; ' the day after, c in full 
bloom and as yet unfaded — a good omen that all are well at 
home, which may God grant ! ' and finally, the fourth day out, 
' having bloomed its little hour, it has scattered its leaves on the 
water.' No longer thus reminded of home associations, he now 
turns his attention to the world around him, of which he speaks 
in this fashion : — 

' Really, at a superficial glance, this vessel appears to be little 
else than an immense cookshop and slaughter-house afloat ; the 

business of eating seems to take precedence of all other 

The dinner closes with songs and sentiments in the saloon ; on 
deck, the merry contagion spreads and continues through the 
afternoon, when the evening closes in with dance and song 
among the sailors. All is joy and glee.' 

The first Sunday out, a Scotch Presbyterian preaches on the 
'disobedience of Jonah.' After the sermon, ' Fell into conver- 
sation with a Mr. H of New York, who, besides possessing 

consummate knowledge of painters and pictures, gave me to 
understand that he was the only man living who comprehended 

Mr. George Combe, the eminent phrenologist and author of 
The Constitution of Man, is on board. ' Had some conversation 
with Mr. Combe on the moral condition of the people of the 
United States. He confirmed the decision of Dr. Spurzheim 
that we are, in the aggregate, deficient in conscientiousness and 
moral culture, and, consequently, in danger of Government 
dissolution, unless an amount of intelligence superior to what 


Engraved by H. Manesse from the Original Picture in the possession of 
F, F, Durand. 

i he 

e, this 'ears to be little 

louse afloat ; the 
if all other. . . 
.CIJ1HO A ^ftjTiAJiT^oq m the ; on 

> »m^ m # %-*m \™^n® *U»«M**a« *u£V>ti the 

hor of 


has yet been attained by any other nation shall be diffused 
among the people. We possess ample means to effect that 
object when rightly directed, although our present condition 
exhibits much of discouragement ; he by no means despairs of 
our arriving at that result by the gradual extension of an 
enlightened system of education, by which means alone per- 
manency to our moral or religious institutions can be secured. 

' It is said that a man-of-war at sea is a perfect despotism 
in miniature ; not so with a steam-packet. On the contrary, it 
is rather an example of a perfect democracy — for instance, 
immediately in front, flat on the deck, on a small coiled rope, 
squatted like a tailor, George Combe, the phrenologist and 
philosopher ; near him, without even a coiled rope or seat of 
any kind other than the bare deck, two or three fashionable 
ladies ; near them, on a wooden bench, sits an Italian bishop 
surrounded by several of his confreres, consisting of priests and 
laymen, smoking segars (puffing forth a more harmless fire and 
smoke than at some other times proceed from the mouths of 
that description of personage) ; while all around in almost every 
possible position — sitting, standing, reclining, or stretched out 
at full length — appear ladies and gentlemen, soldiers and sailors, 
officers and crew, men and women of all nations and tongues, 
all apparently in full possession of equal rights and liberty of 

1 To-day again is Sunday. I do not attend the church 
service, the better to indulge reflection unrestrained under the 
high canopy of heaven, amidst the expanse of waters. This 
mode of passing the Sabbath became habitual with me in early 
life — then 'midst other scenes than here, it is true ; yet if more 
consonant with my feelings (as the world of woods, plains, and 



mountains ever is), certainly not less impressive. All the sounds 
of inanimate nature are of mournful solemnity — the rush of many 
waters as on the mighty ocean, the roar or whisper of the winds 
through the shadowy forest, the endless murmur of the waterfall, 
the patter of the summer shower, all tending to excite mournful 

' Two glorious objects met my view to-day — the first sight 
of the rising sun and the first sight of land.' Standing by the 
side of Mr. Combe as the steamer glides by the varied coast of 
England, the artist remarks, ' It is a beautiful world, Mr. 
Combe.' ' Yes,' replies the philosopher, ' but what a pity man 
is not in harmony with it.' 

The traveller landed in England, June 17, 1840. Nature 
now gives way to Art. Another world opens before him. On 
reaching London his first purpose is to see ' Old Masters.' 
Other sights and wonders, of course, receive attention, but those 
of art are paramount. Apart from the professional interest of 
his observations, his notes are curious in another way : we have 
the judgment of a self-taught artist, with no teacher or guide 
but nature, on the works of superior artists who had enjoyed 
every professional advantage, as well as all the public support 
that time and social development could furnish. The day after 
his arrival he goes to the British Institution, containing a fine 
collection of ' Old Masters ' derived from private galleries. 

' I repaired there with my companions to enjoy for the first 
time the long and fervently desired view of genuine works by 
the Old Masters. I saw them without suspicion of their ori- 
ginality — Wouvermans, Cuyp, and Van de Velde, Rubens, Van 
Dyck and Murillo, Poussin, Both, Carlo Dolce, the Carracci and 
Guercino, Teniers, Ostade, and Gerard Dow.' Subsequently, on 


visiting the National Gallery, he adds, ' I have seen the Old 
Masters again. With some I am not a little disappointed, and 
must confess that only a few, if any, surpass my preconceived 
notions,' and these are Rubens, Murillo, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, 
Both, Cuyp, and Salvator Rosa. He speaks in qualified terms 
of Claude, the leading artistic divinity on landscape, and yet 
4 what I have seen of his works is worth a passage across the 

Next come living English painters and their works, of which 
the following extracts from the journal convey a general idea. 

The Royal Academy Exhibition is soon disposed of. 
' Some few pictures are of an elevated character, or, at 
least, display elements of high intellectual effort, especially in 
conception and design ; at the same time these are marred by 
crudities. I observe only in a few works expression and 
character, while correctness in drawing, solidity, finish — natural- 
ness, in short, I look for in vain.' The exhibition of water- 
colours, however, excites admiration. ' The higher qualities 
of these works are by no means inconsiderable. I question 
whether they do not evince an equal, if not a higher, degree of 
talent than the oil pictures of the Royal Academy. The sketchy 
style and artificial management (pervading faults of the English 
school) appear, if not appropriate, at least less objectionable in 
water-colour than in oil pictures. One hardly expects the sober, 
quiet tone, the depth and mellowness, the transparency and 
glow in the former department, which is found in the finished 
productions of the latter. I was accordingly agreeably surprised 
to find these qualities in no small degree among the water- 
colour productions both in landscape and figure subjects, even 
to a greater extent than in most of the corresponding productions 


in oil, also in the higher traits of fine character and expression 
occasionally met with. Their aim, however, appears too 
generally directed to the attainment of brilliant and striking 
effects, both in light and dark as well as in colour. The quiet 
loveliness of Nature, the subdued and modest aspect, brilliant 
without crudeness and rich without glare, like the gentle and 
most estimable virtues of the moral world, are but too often 
forced down or overlooked amidst the glitter and exuberance 
of ostentatious display.' 

Leaving pictures for painters, he calls on Mr. C. R. Leslie. 
' The evening passed in the most agreeable manner, chiefly 
devoted to looking over a portfolio of sketches in water-colours, 
produced at several years' meetings of the long - established 
Sketch Club of which Mr. Leslie is a member. This portfolio 
contains sketches by A. E. Chalon and brother, Uwins, Stan- 
field, Landseer, Partridge, Crystall, and Leslie himself. Many 
were begun and finished in one evening, particularly those of 
A. E. Chalon, the most conspicuous for gracefulness, composi- 
tion, and character. . . . All present a surprising display of 
imagination and graphic skill, especially when it is taken into 
account that they are extempore works.' 

Mr. Leslie having favoured him with an introductory letter 
to Sir David Wilkie, he visits this artist the next day. 

' We were shown into a drawing-room hung with numerous 
engravings from his own pictures. Sir David soon presented 
himself — a blunt, honest-looking Scotchman, of rather gruff 
aspect and manner. After a few brief inquiries relating to 
our voyage, he conducted us into his atelier and there dis- 
closed without reserve the secrets — the very modus operandi 
of his professional labour. He showed us first his picture of 


Columbus demonstrating the probability of the existence of 
another continent to three or four personages on his first visit 
to Spain, as related by Irving. Figures as large as life and 
of fine character, and the story is well told ; but a picture of 
inferior merit compared with his smaller works. Of the latter 
there were several on his easels, merely commenced ; one in 
particular, in which there were ten or a dozen heads beauti- 
fully laid in and nearly finished ; other parts of the canvas 
were untouched, except a careless drawing-in of the general 
design, with small portions of figures and patches of background 
slightly painted. The subject of this picture is " John Knox 
administering the Sacrament." There were two or three other 
works of smaller dimensions, one a " Village School," a beautiful 
composition and replete with nature in the various attitudes 
and occupations of the juvenile assembly. 

' But what most interested me in the interview with Wilkie 
was the disclosure of his process in painting. The ground of 
his canvas is white. After having determined his design in 
general composition and effect of colour by small sketches, the 
whole is carefully drawn in without any apparent aim at correct- 
ness or precision in detail ; the principal heads are then carefully 
painted, as above specified in the subject of " John Knox," after 
which the background and the rest of the picture are thinly 
dead- coloured, indicating the general disposition of colour, light 
and dark. This done, he proceeds to make careful finished 
drawings in black and white chalk on tinted paper, from models, 
of the most important portions of the figures and groups, whole 
or in part, according to their prominence in the picture ; and 
from these drawings he paints, and, if I have not misunderstood 
him, he finishes such parts without recurrence to nature, except 


in heads, if even there. Many of these studies I saw scattered 
about his rooms — heads, arms, hands, legs, and feet, all beautifully 
drawn. Such is a general outline of his process, especially in 
small compositions. He said that he preferred to paint in the 
principal heads on the white canvas and at once, as far as 
practicable, as he thereby obtained more clearness of colour, 
sharpness, and solidity, rather than dead-colouring an effect 
after the manner of some who depend on frequent repeti- 

Mr. Sheepshanks' collection, next visited, furnishes him with 
a text for remarks on other works by Leslie as well as by other 
English masters. 

' Two by Leslie are among his best works, and one, at 
least, a scene from the Merry Wives of Windsor, unsurpassed 
perhaps by anything he has ever done. Falstaff, Anne Page, 
Slender and Shallow — figures in this picture — are in their best 
dress, and indeed no artist has represented these characters equal 
to Leslie. There are several of his works illustrating Shake- 
speare, all very beautiful ; but the most recent ones are more 
crude and less agreeable in tone, though nowise deficient in 
character. There are also a number by Turner, Stanfield, 
Constable, Calcott, and Landseer, one by Wilkie, and several 
by other artists. In Turner I have not yet been able to 
discern the high degree of excellence which is conceded to 
him. He appears to me, indeed, the most factitious and 
artificial of all the distinguished English artists. I discover in 
him much of imaginative and poetic power, but that appears 
developed at too great a sacrifice of truth and propriety. At 
all events, if Turner is to be judged by the acknowledged 
standard of excellence presented in the works of the Old Masters, 



or by nature in the commonly received acceptation of the term, 
he must be found wanting.* 

' Edwin Landseer has merits that no one disputes. His dogs 
and other animals are indeed exquisite, and some of his finest 
works are in this collection ; for manipulation he is doubtless 
unequalled. There is great sweetness and classic elegance in 
the coast scenes of Stanfield, always pleasing and often eminently 
beautiful ; yet there is often too much of opacity in his colour 
and too much of scenic style in his execution. I saw in this 
collection one picture by Constable evincing more of simple 
truth and naturalness than any English landscape I have ever 
before met with. 

' In the evening, paid a second visit to Leslie to make our 
acknowledgments for his kindness and bid him adieu. He 
showed us several sketches by his deceased friend Constable 
in water-colour, pencil, and other styles of drawing, exhibiting 
great attention to Nature under her changing aspects, all from 
home scenes and common familiar objects ; among others, a port- 
folio of oil studies from clouds and skies in general, with notes 
on the backs stating the hour of the day, direction of the wind, 
and kind of weather. All his sketches were very slight, but 
indicating much naturalness and beauty of effect. Constable was 
above the influence of want, and hence not dependent on his 
art for support ; his pictures were not popular in his lifetime. 

* During this visit he saw Turner, and visited the house where his paintings 
were kept. Few were admitted to this den, which was a wilderness of accumu- 
lated studies and works in every stage of progress. In after years he thus mentions 
Turner in ' Letters on Landscape Painting ' (see Appendix) : ' Turner gathered 
from the previously unexplored sky alone, transcripts of Nature whose mingled 
beauty of form and chiaroscuro have immortalised him, for the sole reason that he 
has therein approached nearer to the representation of the infinity of Nature than 
all that have gone before him.' 


'Mr. Leslie stated to us the following fact — which to the 
admirer of true art is not much to be lamented — that the 
distinguished Turner has his house literally filled with his own 
productions; that even in his cellar are stored away many of 
his former works which he has not looked at himself for years. 
This accumulation is owing to his extravagant prices, not being 
obliged to sell at a moderate rate, having acquired great wealth 
by his drawings made for engraving, of which he has produced 
an infinite number.' 

Such is an estimate of the works of the leading English 
artists of the day. Of the English school in general he has a 
less favourable opinion. 

' In the school of British art, technicalities evidently receive 
the principal attention, not from any deficiency in imaginative 
power or poetic imagery — for these qualities, together with 
sentiment and character, often abound — but the language in 
which they are expressed is either inflated in style or replete 
with affectations, the choice of subject seldom evincing any 
loftier aim than commonplace passion and scenes of familiar life. 
Happy touches in execution or felicitous combinations of colour, 
peculiar or difficult of attainment, or simply of rare occurrence, 
without reference to naturalness, or consistent with admitted 
principles of beauty, are sought for and dwelt on with undue 
admiration ; unobjectionable and perhaps commendable when 
properly subordinated to higher qualities, these are too often 
converted into models for imitation — dangerous models, because 
they are finally aimed at as an end, instead of a means for the 
attainment of an ulterior object. Everybody knows that too 
much attention to the mechanism of style, or to conventional 
rules for painting, necessarily leads to a subversion of the spiritual 


and intellectual meaning of art. It is thus with the English 
school. Artificial beauty may at first sight be highly attractive 
on account of insinuating smiles and graces, but which on close 
examination is found to be little else than heartless and un- 
meaning grimace. To make use of another figure, Mistress 
Art in England tries to impose on her enamoured admirer a 
painted cheek instead of the glow of health. The last works 

of Leslie and Wilkie are almost the only exceptions 

Unfortunately, these distinguished painters in their recent pro- 
ductions demonstrate the danger of contact with error, turning, 
as they have, from their former chaste and true style to the 
present superficial and negligent, or rather studiously careless, 
manner of their contemporaries.' 

The journal, besides professional observations, contains sun- 
dry descriptions of London and its sights, which are thus 
summed up : — 

' In the evening, having been complimented with a ticket, 
price one guinea, I attended a masquerade ball. Pursuant to 
regulations, I provided myself with a black mask, to which my 
sense of propriety was much indebted, for I should have blushed 
to " see my natural face in a glass," as one of the motley throng 
assembled on this occasion in this licensed scene of folly and 
depravity. There were about two or three hundred characters 
in the assemblage in various costumes, some of them in good 
taste, some in bad, and others in no taste ; some were masked 
without any other disguise, and some without any disguise but 
that of decent men and women. Of the female portion in par- 
ticular, the less said the better. I saw but one or two women 
whose countenances seemed at variance with the occasion, and 
one, more especially, whose soft, pensive eye and graceful brow 



revealed, indeed, "too much of heaven on earth to last" — of 
too fair and delicate texture to sustain for length of years the 
blighting influence of sensuality and midnight revel. I soon 
left the rooms, with no desire to revisit them. 

' I have not seen one half of London, but I have perhaps 
seen its fairest side. It seems to me a city of prosperity and 
abundance ; richness, variety, and often magnificence strike one 
at every step through its principal streets, and it is only through 
these great thoroughfares that I have passed. That there are 
haunts of poverty and wretchedness equally startling, and 
perhaps more extended, I well know, but I have not sought 
them ; on the contrary, I have avoided them as unprofitable 
spectacles and often unsafe. In the country, as far as I have 
been, all is like a vast garden of the richest cultivation. The 
houses, though mostly old and picturesque from the wear and 
tear of time, are always cleanly and neat, with a real air of 
comfort and convenience. But I know this is not the case all 
over England. It is not difficult to see that the general means 
of living are far more slender and limited than with us. The 
eagerness to make a penny apparent among the common people, 
and the readiness to take money for the slightest service, even 
by persons decent and respectable in appearance, who would 
consider themselves insulted in America by the offer of a six- 
pence, and who are not only ready to accept it but take care 
to let you know that they expect it if you withhold it — these 
appearances are too frequent not to convince you, at once, that 
John Bull is not so rich and happy a fellow as some signs 
indicate ; but he has treated me well for the most part, and I 
am not disposed to complain.' 

The time |had come for departure. After passing seven 

PARIS. 155 

weeks in London, he leaves for Paris, July 31st. His sojourn 
in this great city, still more strange than London, with other 
features of beauty and interest — 'Since I have got into France 
I feel as if I was in reality transformed to another planet ' — is 
devoted to sight-seeing, including, of course, the public collec- 
tions of art ; but as he is not in Paris for work, and is in haste 
to get to Switzerland, and especially Italy, the centre of attraction 
for an artist in those days, he leaves it at the end of a fortnight. 
I quote from his journal only the following observations of 
professional import, taken at random : — 'David appears to have 
sown the first seeds of a corrupt style, for, previous to his time, 
it appears to me that the French possessed much of the purity 
and chasteness of the Italian school.' He visits the Luxembourg : 
' Our next object was the Salle des Tableaux, or picture-gallery, 
appropriated solely to the works of modern French artists, of 
which there are about two hundred specimens, most of them 
large historical subjects and fine examples of the school in this 
department, in which, in my judgment, the French artists are 
far superior to the English. It is true these figures are too 
often academic and what is termed theatrical, with exaggerated 
action and expression ; but their finished drawing, anatomical 
correctness, character, and grandeur of composition, entitle them 
to an elevated rank as a school of art. . . . Paris is indeed the 
most gay, the most refined, the most filthy and corrupt of all 
cities, concentrating in itself all that is attractive and all that 
is repulsive in every other.' 

Passing through Belgium, he arrives in Antwerp at the 
moment of the inauguration of the statue to Rubens, in honour 
of whom the whole town is en fete. ' We had indeed arrived 
at a fortunate moment to witness the public regard for the fine 


arts, and the profound veneration in which the citizens of 
Antwerp, from the highest to the lowest, hold the distinguished 
masters to which their country has given birth. Wherever we 
passed, the streets were thronged with happy faces of every 
class, age, sex, and condition ; all labour was suspended but 
that of contributing to the festivities. The sidewalks were 
hung with festoons of white drapery interspersed with ever- 
greens, together with tablets bearing the name of the great 
artist and extending through all the principal streets, while 
Peter Paul Rubens, in large white letters by day and illu- 
minated by night, appeared on the spire of the great cathedral, 
five hundred feet above the ground. It is here that masters in 
the fine arts are duly honoured ! It makes me proud to be one 
of the fraternity ! The religious festival of the Virgin, the 
patroness of Antwerp, was also celebrated in connexion with 
the fete to Rubens, but the Father of the Flemish school of 
art seemed to have supplanted even the Virgin Mary on this 

Italy was the objective point of the painter as far as art is 
concerned ; Switzerland seemed the country par excellence with 
respect to nature. Passing through Holland and up the Rhine, 
both of which excite unbounded admiration, he reaches Basle 
September 9th, and gives a month to Swiss landscape, which 
he thus sums up : — 

' I had seen pictures of the snow-capped Alps, but I had 
never seen anything either in pictures or in nature so glorious 
and beautiful as the real mountains of this unrivalled country. 
It is in vain to attempt to describe or paint them ; their pure 
white peaks — shining on the clear blue sky or mingling with 
the light fleecy clouds that seem to love to linger round their 


summits, in contrast with the soft blue tint of their lower 
portions, opposed to the rich green hills, luxuriant trees, brown 
cottages and cultivated fields, the latter traversed with streams 
or on the borders of the lakes, and these again varied by bold 
projecting rocks on their shores and by sloping meadows — 
present that which is most grand and beautiful in creation, all 
combining the features of spring, summer and winter in one 
brief view, and in one short day.' 

Here the journal ends, October 11th, and is not resumed 
again with the same attempt at description. The details of the 
rest of the tour are jotted down in hasty notes. His pilgrimage, 
of which Rome is the Mecca, finally ends in Italy. On reaching 
the promised land he lingers awhile on the beautiful Italian lakes, 
and then passes on to Milan, Venice, Bologna, devoting a few 
days to each, and at last rests for twenty days in Florence, 
where he finds his countryman, Horatio Greenough, who makes 
his sojourn there extremely agreeable. After accomplishing 
something in the way of painting, he reaches Rome and there 
settles for the winter. In Florence, unable to copy certain 
pictures which happen to be engaged by other artists, he begins 
the ' Ruth and Naomi,' previously mentioned, with which he 
soon becomes discouraged and sets aside ; finding a ' Turk ' in 
picturesque costume, a vendor of Oriental curiosities and willing 
to sit for his portrait, he paints him and pleases himself ' better 
than usual' — doubtless because nature was his model. He next 
paints a small semi-ideal landscape in which he introduces the 
Duomo, inspired by a Claude effect. After this he copies 
Rembrandt's portrait of himself in the Palazzo Vecchio. In 
one day he ' advanced the head so far as to surprise a young 
lady who had been employed for weeks on a picture of some 


female saint, while an English artist told me that my rapidity 
astonished the Italians.' The effect of the art of Florence on 
his mind is found in a phrase of one of his letters from that 
city : ' Could I have passed a few earlier years in Florence I 
might have been a painter — but not of landscapes ! ' 

It is evident that my father had ' Claude on the brain,' and 
was puzzled how to estimate the works of the creator — or, at 
least, populariser — of modern landscape art. Accustomed to 
regard Claude as a divinity, he found himself in the attitude 
of a disputer for the truth in relation to a recognised orthodox 
authority. There seems to have been a struggle in his mind as 
to which was right, nature or this ' old master.' The following 
draft of a letter to his friend Mr. Cole, the only one to whom 
he could express professional doubts, shows the dilemma and his 
final conclusion in the matter : — 

' I am in Florence, as you perceive. You have been here 
and know what it is much better than I do. I only wish you 
were here that I might talk to you, and hear from you, at least, 
something that would assure me that in crossing the Atlantic, 
the English Channel, the Seine, the Rhine, the Rhone, the Reuss, 
the Aar, the Po, and finally the Arno, that I have not also 
crossed the Styx, for I am often sufficiently bewildered, wretched, 
and desolate to warrant that conclusion. I presume Florence is 
much the same as when you were here, abounding in the treasures 
of art and many other objects of exceeding interest and beauty, 
together with no small degree of filthiness and excessive bell- 
ringing. How I came here you have yet to learn. I wish I 
could tell you how I have tugged and toiled up hill and down, 
over waters, plains, and mountains, thro' towns and cities, 
palaces and galleries, till my limbs have failed thro' weariness, 

CLAUDE. 159 

and my brain (I wish it was larger) has become bewildered. 
Every desire for novelty and excitement is gratified to satiety. 
I have gone, like a child on a holiday festival, to look at great 
personages and their works, and after seeing them I have said to 
myself, like that awe-stricken individual on seeing Washington, 
" He is only a man." The old masters were only men, but they 
were great men, and, like all great men, sometimes did little 
things, or, at least, things that might be done by little men ; 
and, even in all their greatness, how much was owing to the 
circumstances of the times and which, under similar circum- 
stances, might not be done in our own day ! Still, I would 
not have you infer that I underrate their greatness, or that I 
have not enjoyed the privilege of contemplating their works ; 
on the contrary, I have stood before them with the full measure 
of veneration, and yielded my humble tribute of admiration and 

' I presume you would like to know my impression on 
examining productions which, as poor old Paff used to say, 
" make boys of us all." In these degenerate times I hear you 
ask me what I think of them, and of Claude in particular. 
Well, the first picture that I saw of his disappointed me ; the 
second, third, fourth — aye, and seventh — did not meet my 
expectations. All, strictly speaking, were landscapes ; but when 
I came to his seaports, the " Embarkation of St. Ursula " and 
the " Queen of Sheba," I could realise his greatness in the 
glowing atmosphere and moving water. I have also seen 
others of his landscapes which, in light, colour, truth, and 
nature in certain points, are worthy of his high reputation. 
But the result of my observations thus far is the conviction 
that the glorious field of landscape-painting has never yet been 


so successfully, so fully cultivated, not even by Claude, as have 
other branches of art depicting the action and passions of men. 
The loftiness and pureness of Raphael and others, who have 
best succeeded in embodying the immortal spirit of man, leave 
little to desire. Individual objects have perhaps been as well 
expressed as paint and skill can ever express them ; and it 
may be hopeless to expect more perfect light and atmosphere 
than we find in the seaports and, occasionally, other scenes 
by Claude. Still, I have not felt in contemplating them that 
I was so completely in the presence of Nature, so absorbed 
by her loveliness and majesty, as not to feel that the portrait 
of her might be at least, in some important feature, more 
expressive of character. But one result I found in all, as 
well in landscape as in figures : those which approach nearest 
to the desired perfection bear indisputable marks of deep, 
unceasing study and proportionate toil. In the latter, Paul 
Veronese and Rubens appear to me to have accomplished 
more with less labour than any others ; but, may it not be — 
and in the best works I am convinced it is — that appearances 
of ease are but appearances which conceal the real extent of 
labour? You may remember a Claude in the Palazzo Vecchio, 
a seaport painted for the Medici family — a glorious work, 
but what minute and elaborate finish and what a multitude of 
small parts admirably managed and forming a harmonious 
whole ! So far as I have seen, he attempted nothing beyond 
a soft, unruffled day — no storm effect, not even a common 
shower. He has little imagination. I should suppose his 
pictures to be all compositions from nature, often beautiful 
and judiciously arranged, yet not remarkable for varied and 
picturesque scenery. His poetry seldom rises above the pastoral 

ROME. 161 

and descriptive ; but here he is, indeed, exquisite. He seems 
to have had no knowledge of English effects, not even of 
cloud shadows ; he is simple and true to Nature in her broad, 
open light, either of morning or evening, and there finding 
sufficient charm.' 

We now bid good-bye to Claude, and accompany his critic 
and admirer to Rome. At this time Rome was the art centre 
of the world. Statues by the great sculptors of antiquity, along 
with paintings by the equally great artists of the Renaissance 
epoch, formed the school to which students of art flocked from 
all countries. Technical secrets were supposed to be got at by 
copying venerated masterpieces, as if the feeling of genius could 
be evoked by imitating forms in colour or in marble with the 
stroke of a brush or the blow of a chisel. Few artists, if any, 
tried to comprehend the motives of classic or Renaissance art 
by a study of the sentiments and energies which animated society 
in these two culminating periods of human grandeur ; technical 
means were not regarded as subordinate, just as style is sub- 
ordinate to sense in the works of the giants of literature. 
Winckelman and Lessing, again, the most celebrated art 
theorists of the day in treating antique art — the former according 
to alleged aesthetic rules, reducing beauty and expression to 
mathematical precision, and the latter assigning to art limited 
emotional impulses — misdirected most minds. Worship of the 
old masters, nevertheless, was on the wane. The works and 
powers of French artists in selecting and treating modern 
subjects, the productions of Gros, Gericault, Vernet, Delaroche, 
and Delacroix, for example, along with the growing schools of 
landscapists in France and England, who derived their inspira- 
tion direct from nature, and opened up a new field for public 


1 62 LIFE OF A. B. BUR AND. 

taste, gradually displaced them. German theories and Italian 
methods slowly give way to the delineation of events and 
personages belonging to the actual modern world, at once com- 
prehensible to artists and the public. The standard of merit, 
found in the real of the present, instead of the ideals of the 
past, is established by the schools of Paris, Dusseldorf, and 
Munich. Rome, nevertheless, at this period was an attractive 
city, a place of repose. Neither politics nor business formed 
general subjects of conversation, and no newspapers of any 
account disturbed the mind. Papal sovereignty suited the 
temper and interests of the population. Taxes were adapted 
to the condition of the poor, and based on the natural activity 
and resources of the country. Foreigners half supported a 
people whose country, like Switzerland, surpasses others in 
beauty. Living is cheap. c I pay eight dollars a month for 
my studio,' says our artist in one of his letters, which he 
thinks is dear, ' including two small rooms besides, and six 
dollars per month for a bedroom at another place, very neat 
and well furnished. I pay about seven cents for breakfast, 
which consists of tea or coffee, half milk, and a couple of rolls. 
I dine at half-past four on two or three dishes, as may be, good 
beefsteaks, pudding, &c, which commonly cost about two 
cents each ; then I generally lunch at noon for three or four 
cents more.' American artists enjoy other advantages. Com- 
mercial men from America, exhausted by a business life and 
travelling for health, and who had never bought a work of 
art, stop at Rome, catch the art infection, and give commissions 
for pictures and statues which never would have been given at 
home, to say nothing of the ' original ' old masters they buy 
' at a bargain ' at the suggestion of a courier or hotel-keeper. 


Take it altogether, Rome, at this time, unlike the Rome of 
to-day, with its triple alliance, boulevards, tramways, locomo- 
tives, and other 'modern improvements,' afforded an agreeable, 
tranquil, and picturesque retreat. Our artist enjoyed and 
profited by it. His intention was to have made numerous 
copies for which he had commissions, but, unable to get access 
to the pictures he wanted to copy, he improved his time in 
another way : governed by his instincts as usual, he painted 
from nature. What he accomplished is partially recorded in the 
following extract from one of his letters : — 

' I have just commenced a copy of a portrait by Titian 
for my own study, which I shall finish with three or four days' 
work, and, when done, if nothing else comes in my way, I 
shall paint " on my own hook." I am making arrangements 
for doing some studies from the old " codgers " who walk the 
streets here in all the dignity of bearded majesty, old patriarchs 
who go about looking as if they belonged to a period two 
thousand years ago.' 

These old ' codgers,' the models for artists of. saints and 
apostles, with every variety of expression — meek, devout, and 
energetic, according to the required character of this or that 
picture — and others again of modern significance, such as the 
model for bandits, the representative type of Italian human 
nature adapted to the romantic tastes of travellers, posed to 
him, eight in number, and, as portraiture, form some of the 
best of my father's work. Besides these he painted a ' Piper,' 
one or two peasant women in old-time costumes of the country, 
and a donkey, which, to give sittings, was hauled up the stone 
steps of his studio by ropes. The last and most elaborate of 
his productions in Rome consists of a study from a female 


model called by him ' II Pappagallo,' an effort to treat a subject 
in the tone of an ' old master.' 

While thus engaged, his friend, Mr. F. W. Edmonds, 
arrived, and gave new zest both to his studies and his travels. 
Mr. Edmonds worked with him in his studio. After finishing 
their labours, an excursion to Naples and its environs was 
projected and carried out, occupying about a month. My 
father, it must be noted, was not fond of travel ; its business 
details worried him, and, moreover, a journey for pleasure took 
time which he would rather devote to work. The whole tour, 
indeed, he regards as an exile, and to be got through with as 
soon as possible. In his journal he often records depression of 
spirits and longings for home. But the company of a congenial 
companion revived his energies and made travel less irksome. 
Time, in any event, was never lost. A multitude of pencil 
drawings in outline, taken at every place visited by him, 
attest his industry. With Rome, however, his pilgrimage 
ended, and he was now to turn his face homeward. In 
company with Mr. Edmonds he revisited Florence, stopping 
at various picturesque towns on the way, and next Bologna, 
Ferrara, Venice, and Milan, reaching Paris the middle of May. 
On June 20th, 1841, we find him at Liverpool on the deck 
of the steamer Britannia, bound for New York. The following 
extract from a letter, although written in Switzerland some 
months previous, expresses the sentiment of the time and 
occasion : — 

' I wish to continue in Europe as long as it shall be pleasant, 
for the benefits it will yield me as a landscape-painter — for that 
object no country in the world can equal it ! But for purposes 
more important, of higher interest than can be found in this or 


Reproduced from the Original Sketch made on the Steamer 'Britannia,' June 1840, 

in the possession of J. Durand. 

Heliogravure Dujardin: Printed by C. Mlttmann. 



ote to work. The wholf tour, 

and to be got through with as 

records depression of 

..^ia^S^ltftl^company of a congenial 


rfi -^v^j^uj^tude of pencil 

. . ...... , ■. , . 



be pleasant, 

er — for that 

;t for purposes 

i this or 

.'.-■ ?WN&lSi 


any other country, give me our own dear native land ! I can 
look with admiration and wonder on the beauty and sublimity 
of the scenes now before me ; I can look with gratification and 
advantage on the great works of art, as I have done in England 
and on the Continent, and still expect to do in Italy : yet when 
all this looking and studying and admiring shall have an end, I 
am free to confess that I shall enjoy a sight of the signboards in 
the streets of New York more than all the pictures in Europe ; 
and for real and unalloyed enjoyment of scenery, the rocks, 
trees, and green meadows of Hoboken will have a charm that 
all Switzerland cannot boast ; only let me see them in the 
presence of family and friends, and they in health and pros- 
perity. " Fly swift around, ye wheels of time, and bring the 
welcome day." ' 

On the voyage his brush is brought into requisition by a 
sight of icebergs, of which he makes some water-colour drawings 
for himself and his fellow - passengers. On reaching Boston, 
having a few hours of leisure, he visits the Athenaeum, where 
there is an exhibition ' of some old acquaintances which did not 
look as well as formerly — Stuart is an exception,' the last entry 
in his journal, and significant in relation to the effect of his tour. 
One effect of it is apparent in a list of the works executed the 
first two years after his return, as follows : ' Castle Blonnai,' 
' Cottage on Lake Thun,' ' Oberbasle,' and ' View on the 
Susten Pass,' in Switzerland ; ' Church at Stratford-on-Avon,' 
in England ; ' Oberwesel,' on the Rhine ; and ' On the Island 
of Capri,' in the Bay of Naples. All were painted from pencil 
drawings inscribed with memoranda of colour and clouds ; none 
were painted direct from nature, and accordingly lack certain 
essentials of truth and fidelity. In treatment and colour the 


Swiss subjects suggest reminiscences of ' old masters,' while the 
others are painted in conformity with the sentiment of American 
nature, so different from that of Europe. In England, with its 
moist, vapoury atmosphere, mostly a grazing country, where 
hedges and single trees abound, the foliage of which is richer 
in hue and their forms more picturesque, the prevailing green 
is deeper in tone ; on the Continent, with landscape elements 
unknown in America, a broad expanse of surface not marred 
by fences, diversified by grey towns and by clusters of red- 
roofed houses in the villages scattered around, checkered with 
fields of grain and vines, and where the hills and mountains 
consist of tinted rocks and crags, the colour is still further 
removed from green and far richer. In our ' green forest land,' 
on the contrary, such elements are wanting. Our soil, over- 
spread with an almost uniform culture, consisting of cultivated 
clearings amidst masses of woods reaching to the tops of all 
elevations, monotonous and paler in hue on account of the 
drier climate, is peculiarly green, except late in the autumn, 
when the dying foliage puts on brilliant tints and colours 
that transcend the resources of the palette. In reply to 
a criticism once made on his works that they were ' too 
green,' an objection made only after the appearance among us 
of modern European landscapes, my father simply observed, 
' I paint green because I see nature green.' And so he con- 
tinued to paint, using other pigments only as the local colours 
and tints of objects demanded, never forcing his brush according 
to a conventional theory of colour or the practice of other 



The Period of Production — Prosperity of the Country — The Art Union War 
— Benefit of the Institution — Record of Works — Resigns the Presidency 
of the National Academy of Design — Summer Excursions — Life in the 
Woods — -Art in a Western City — Studies from Nature — The Crayon — 
Rise and Decline of the American School. 

THE experimental period of my father's painting career 
having come to an end ■ — that in which he was 
acquiring knowledge and self-reliance, the productive 
period — that of the full maturity of his powers— now begins. 
Portraiture is still his main dependence. A growing dislike 
of this branch of art, however, owing to the necessity of 
depicting uninteresting subjects, coupled with the caprices of 
sitters, especially ladies, determined him to abandon it as soon 
as possible. Fortunately, his increasing reputation as a land- 
scape-painter enables him to do it safely. Nature now gives 
him sittings according to his fancy, and finds no fault when he 
fails to detect and depict her beauty. 

Moreover, he can better rely on the support of the com- 
munity. The times are propitious. Public taste and wealth 
have increased proportionately. Between 1836 and 1839, in 
the short period of three years, the prosperity of the country, 
due to various causes, had increased enormously. The develop- 
ment of the South and West had acquired immense impetus by 
which New York, the great entrepot of the continent for both 
inland and foreign commerce, benefited beyond calculation. 
Immigration, with its coincident impulses, gave rise to every 

1 68 LIFE OF A. B. BUR AND. 

sort of enterprise, especially land speculation, and to such an 
extent as soon to bring on a collapse — over-trading, over-pro- 
duction, hard times, and a commercial crisis. In consequence 
of this, about 1 840, universal depression ensued. Society seemed 
paralysed. Dull times, like a plague, provoked gloomy retro- 
spection. People refrained from amusements. The curtain of 
the old Park Theatre rose often to audiences of only thirty 
people ; on one occasion, only one person being present, to 
whom his money was refunded, the curtain remained down. 
Public entertainments consisted chiefly of courses of lectures, 
while revivals, of which Elder Knapp and the Rev. Mr. Kirk 
were the principal and effective leaders, met with great success. 
Notwithstanding all this, capital had accumulated, certain fortunes 
had been secured, incomes were not only liberally but extrava- 
gantly expended, and society, as usual, interested itself in other 
things. Among these, art obtained its share of attention. Art 
opened another road to new men ambitious of social distinction, 
and ' many there were who travelled that way.' The American 
Art Union arose — an institution successfully managed by com- 
mercial men ; a fresh, opportune, and powerful patron of art, 
it exercised an important influence on the development of the 
American school. Mention of it here is again necessary on 
account of an incident that reveals a trait of character in the 
artist as well as in the relationship of this institution to the 
National Academy of Design. 

The rise and fall of the American Art Union is somewhat 
singular. Starting in 1840 under the title of 'The Apollo 
Association,' on the lottery principle, it distributed among its 
members, who became such by a subscription of five dollars, 
original paintings and engravings by native artists, the latter 

art union rivalry. 169 

held to be worth the price of subscription, and given to all 
members alike. At first the institution ' dragged its slow length 
along ; ' subsequently, on changing its name to ' The American 
Art Union,' and conducted by energetic merchants, it flourished. 
' The Art Union, in the management of its business, purchased 
its stock, advertised and exhibited its goods, employed its agents 
and clerks, just like a merchant.'* One of its prizes, c The 
Voyage of Life,' a series of landscape compositions by Cole on 
four large canvases, offered a temptation so irresistible as to run 
its subscribers up from eight hundred to sixteen thousand. The 
progress of the institution, consequently, for a few years was 
rapid, and to the detriment of the National Academy of Design. 
Always mistrustful of the injury, the Academy, nevertheless, 
favoured the growth of its rival in consideration of its benefit 
to art. ' It would be a happy thing for the world,' says the 
President of the Academy, quoting a passage from Aristotle, 
' if artists were to be made the sole judges of the arts ; but 
we are favoured with canonists and nobility as arbitrators who 
are quite unacquainted with our concerns, and these again have 
certain managers, as they are termed on the stage, or, as 
iEschines calls them, pettifoggers of the forum, who cajole the 
public' He endorses the rival institution (then the Apollo 
Association) in the following terms : ' We do not believe that 
the class of those who wish to " cajole the public " in this 
matter is very large ; indeed, we are quite sure that the mass 
of those who associate for the encouragement of art in our 
city are impelled by motives truly liberal.' This was un- 
doubtedly true, and while Mr. Bryant held the office of Presi- 
dent of the institution, the Academy ran no risk ; but under 
* Art Union Bulletin, 1853. 




his successor, Mr. Prosper M. Wetmore, the spirit of its 
management changed. An unprecedented income enabled more 
prizes to be offered than usual, while artists naturally sent 
their works to the best market, the effect of which was to 
decrease at once the attraction and the revenue of the Academy- 
exhibitions. In the spring of 1848 the breach between the 
two institutions ended in war. The following incident shows the 
nature of it. My father had become President of the National 
Academy, and, contributing to its exhibition pictures of interest, 
he naturally reserved those painted by himself for his own 
institution. An important work was then on his easel. Aware 
of its destination, the managers of the Art Union instigated a 
connoisseur to purchase the picture, and thus prevent its 
exhibition by right of ownership. The plan was carried out. 
The connoisseur called, expressed his satisfaction with the subject, 
and, although informed that the painting was to be exhibited in 
the Academy, secured it. When completed, the picture was 
framed and sent to the Academy, where, according to rule, it was 
to remain until the exhibition closed. Just as the exhibition was 
about to open the purchaser claimed his property, insisted on 
its delivery, and finally carried things so far as to take out a 
writ of replevin and call in the aid of the sheriff. At this 
stage of the proceedings the Art Union authorities concluded 
to compromise the matter. The following letter, written, it 
must be noted, on ' April Fool's Day,' prescribed the conditions, 
which, indeed, transformed a serious matter into a farce : — 

«New York, April 1, 1848. 
'A. B. Durand, Esq^ 

' Sir, — We address you as friends of .Mr. , authorised 

to act for him in reference to the picture painted by you which is now 


said to be in the Gallery of the Academy of Design. On behalf of 
Mr. we propose that you shall concede to him the proprietor- 
ship and possession of the picture, and, taking it from the Exhibition 
Room, place it in the frame made for it. This being done we most 

cheerfully, in behalf of Mr. , place the picture at the disposal of 

the National Academy for exhibition. 

4 We are, 

' Respectfully yours, 

' P. M. Wetmore.' 

These conditions were accepted and fulfilled. The picture, 
removed into a side room and transferred to the frame provided 
for it by the owner, was then replaced in the exhibition. The 
incident is a sign of the times in illustration of art encourage- 
ment, and, again, a manifestation of the character of the artist : 
mild, yielding, and undemonstrative in all relations, my father 
in this case, and mainly in defence of the interests of the 
Academy, as well as of the profession, maintained his ground, 
notwithstanding that many of his artistic brethren, surprised 
at a degree of stubbornness so unusual, recommended him to 
consult his interests and yield. His sole revenge consisted in 
drawing a caricature of Art Union amateurs, which, however, 
remained unpublished. The ill-feeling between the institutions 
soon subsided. Mr. A. M. Cozzens succeeded Mr. Wetmore 
as president of the Art Union. In 1847 tne National Academy 
of Design, obliged to raise money to pay off indebtedness, 
effected this purpose by a sale of pictures contributed by its 
members, which, through the good offices of Mr. Cozzens, the 
Art Union purchased en masse. Afterwards, in 1853, when 
the Art Union came to an end, on the discovery that it was 
violating the law concerning lotteries, a service of plate was 
presented to Mr. Cozzens in recognition of his services in the 

172 / LIFE OF A. B. DURJND. 

cause of American art, to which the artists of the Academy 
gratefully contributed. All that remains to note in connexion 
with the ' Art Union war ' is the fate of the picture that caused 
the belligerent state of things. On the close of the exhibition 
in which it appeared, the picture was sent home. The owner; 
some months later, on entering his drawing-room early one 
morning, found the pictures on its walls cut to pieces, and this 
one so badly injured as to be irreparable. 

The illegality of the American Art Union in no way inter- 
fered with its influence upon the progress of art. Evidence of 
this is found in the increase of the number of artists. In 1836 
they could be counted on one's fingers; in 1851, when the Art 
Union fell under the ban of the law, American artists formed 
a large body. The collection of paintings that was to have been 
distributed this year, and sold at auction in 1853 to close up 
the institution, numbered three hundred and ninety-five works, 
executed by over two hundred and fifty artists, most of them 
born on the soil. During the period of the Art Union's 
existence it distributed two thousand four hundred works, 
besides numerous original engravings. The institution, if not 
the creator of a taste for art in the community, disseminated a 
knowledge of it and largely stimulated its growth. Through 
it the people awoke to the fact that art was one of the forces 
of society. How far the Art Union was serviceable to individual 
artists may be gathered from the fact that, one year, it purchased 
ten of my father's works. 

During this period of twenty-seven years, most of the land- 
scapes on which our artist's reputation depends were produced. 
The following record, accompanied with necessary comments, 
gives a list of them according to date and importance :— 


1845. 'An Old Man's Reminiscences,' a large landscape 
composition, inspired by the sentiment of Goldsmith's poetry, 
painted for Mr. George W. Austen. Leaving his hands, it was 
subsequently bought by subscription for the Albany Gallery of 
the Fine Arts, and is now in that institution. — ' Close of a 
Sultry Day,' of smaller dimensions, belongs to this year. 

1846. 'Passage through the Woods,' painted for Mr. A. M. 
Cozzens : a large upright composition, the main interest of which 
is a vista beyond the massive trunk of a tree characteristic of 
local forest scenery. Novel and original in treatment, this work 
proved popular, and was followed in after years by others of 
the same order. On the sale of Mr. Cozzens' collection at his 
death, this picture was purchased by Mr. Morris K. Jessup, who 
now possesses it. — ' An Old Man's Lesson,' suggested by the 
following well-known lines in As You Like It: — 

' And this our life, exempt from public haunt, 
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, 
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.' 

Purchased and distributed by the American Art Union, this 
work fell to the lot of a subscriber in Mobile, Ala., who sold 
it to Mr. E. Parmele of New Orleans. 

1847. A 'Landscape Composition,' painted for Mr. Edwin 
Hoyt. — ' Forenoon ' and ' Afternoon,' for Mr. James Robb of 
New Orleans, lately in the Boston Museum of Art, and probably 
the least successful of his works. 

1848. 'Dover Plains,' purchased by Mr. Daniel Seymour, 
and engraved by James Smillie for the American Art Union. 

1 849. The record of this year embraces eleven works, many 
of them studies from nature. Add to these a view painted for 


Mr. John H. Peck, Burlington, Vt. — ' Kindred Spirits,' a land- 
scape ideal, in which the figures of Bryant and Cole appear in 
the foreground on a rock ; painted for Mr. Jonathan Sturges and 
presented by him to Mr. W. C. Bryant. — ' Indian Vespers,' 
painted for Mr. Chauncey Shaffer. 

1 8 50. ' Sunday Morning,' painted for Mr. Gouverneur 
Kemble, Cold Spring, inspired by Bryant's lines, — 

' O'er the clear still water swells 
The music of the Sabbath bells/ — 

and belonging to the series of tree-trunk subjects. On its 
completion, while still on the easel, Mr. Kemble writes, ' I 
sent my friend Washington Irving, in whose taste I had great 
confidence, to look at the picture, and have just received a note 
from him expressing his admiration of it in the warmest terms. 
I thought, from the pleasure it had given me, that he would be 
gratified, but he has gone further than this.' — ' Thanatopsis,' 
again prompted by the poetry of Bryant. Purchased by the 
American Art Union, this work fell into the hands of a 
subscriber, and afterwards, partially repainted by my father, 
was bought by Mr. B. F. Gardner, and is now in the possession 
of Mr. Pierpont Morgan. — * Shipwreck,' painted for Mr. 
Thomas H. Faile. 

1 8 5 1 . ' Morning Ride,' painted for Mr. Jasper Grosvenor. — 
1 Raven Hill,' painted for Mr. John Tylor Headley. 

1852. c God's Judgment upon Gog,' the subject prescribed 
by, and painted for, Mr. Jonathan Sturges. 

' It represents a scene of darkness and desolation in the valley of 
graves. The hosts of Gog are scattered and falling in terror, while the 
blackened air is horrid with the ominous flight of birds of prey snufKng 


the blood of the slain oppressors of Israel. Out of a cavernous gap in 
the mountains rush forth hordes of wild beasts — tigers and leopards, 
swift and stealthy, thirsting for blood. There is something of an awful 
and demoniac spirit about this scene, the widest departure from Durand's 
favourite themes.' * 

The exhibition of this picture by the National Academy offered 
Mr. George William Curtis, then a young man just returned 
from Europe, an opportunity to exercise his critical faculty in 
such a way as to provoke a retort by Mr. Horatio Greenough, 
which the reader will find in the Appendix. It is simply 
necessary to state here that, as usual with subjects chosen for 
an artist, the picture was not a success. 

1853. 'Progress,' a large landscape composition, painted for 
Mr. Charles Gould, showing on American soil the use of canal, 
steamboat, and railway, and that of the telegraph, then recently 
perfected. — ' High Point, Shandakin,' painted for Mr. N. 
Ludlam, and since bequeathed by him to the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, New York. 

1854. 'Primeval Forest' and 'June Shower,' the former, 
painted for Mr. E. D. Nelson, belonging to the series of tree- 
trunk subjects, and the latter for Mr. H. K. Brown, both 
ranking among the best works that left my father's studio. 

1855. 'In the Woods,' painted for Mr. Jonathan Sturges ? 
also of the above series, and the most admired. Two years 
after this Mr. Sturges enclosed a cheque for two hundred dollars 
in a note to my father in which he says, ' I desire to add to the 
price of the wood picture. The trees have grown more than 
the worth of that sum since 1855.' — 'A Summer Afternoon,' 
painted for Mr. J. Whiting. - - 

* Memorial Address. 


1856. Returning to impressions derived from Goldsmith's 
poetry, is 'A Symbol,' painted for Mr. R. M. Olyphant. 

* An ominous storm is gathering and blackening around a mountain ; 
a giant peak rises high above the murky confusion below, catching a 
golden flush of sunlight through a rift in the clouds .... but the hopeful 
glow on the granite peak reflects more of the artist's cheerful temper than 
the dismal strife of the whirling clouds.'* 

1857. 'Lake Hamlet,' painted for Mr. Hamilton Fish. — 
' Landscape,' painted for Mr. Rollin Sanford. — ' Landscape,' 
a tree-trunk subject, painted for Judge G. M. Speir. — 
' Franconia Notch,' painted for Mr. R. L. Stuart, who, in the 
note enclosing a cheque for the picture, adds, ' Being much 
pleased with the painting, I have made the amount still more 
than I mentioned to you.' — Mr. Daniel Huntington painted 
this year the portrait of my father belonging to the Century 
Club. He is represented at work out of doors, sketching Mr. 
Stuart's picture placed on an easel, the sketch being by his 
own hand. The portrait, etched by James D. Smillie, forms 
the frontispiece of the Memorial Address. 

1858. 'Landscape,' a large composition bearing no title, 
painted for Mr. L. M. Rutherford. — ' New Hampshire Scenery,' 
painted for Mr. A. A. Low. 

1859. 'A Reminiscence of the Plaaterkill Clove,' the most 
striking of the series of tree-trunk subjects executed by the 
artist, and painted for Mr. W. T. Walters. On receipt of the 
picture Mr. Walters writes, ' The possession of it seems to have 
rendered me the subject of such universal congratulation that 
I can assure you I feel very proud indeed. I cannot wish you 
better than may you live long, very long, to make such 

* Memorial Address. 


Study from Nature in the Plaaterkill Clove, in the possession of F. F. Duran, 
. Heliogravure Dt/jardin. Printed by C. Wittmann, 


Mr. Hamilton Fish.— 
Lmt ed for Mr/Rollin Sanfbrd^andsc 

]ted for Judge G. M . Speir .- 

t T. • L for Mr R. L. Stuart, who, in the 
Scotch,' painted For Mr k. ^ 

A pmiP f or the picture, adds, Being mui 
-? **■ &g «he amount still more 


«ngBf*\he Century 

> 7£ar t] work out of doors, sketching Mr. 

represented at work out o. 

e placed 

he most 

by the 
)n receipt of 
seems to ha 
congratulation that" 
I cannot wish you 
, ng , to make such 


additions to American art, and in a profession to which your 
brush has added no more than your goodness and worth as a 
man to adorn and elevate.' 

i860. 'Sunday Morning,' an ideal of American scenery, 
which may be considered as the culminating point of the artist's 
ability, painted for Mr. W. T. Walters. This work embodies 
all the beauty and poetry of nature, long and faithfully studied, 
that he was capable of putting on canvas. Mr. Walters ceded 
the picture to his partner, and, after the death of this gentleman, 
it became the property of Mr. Royal C. Taft, Providence, R.I., 
who now possesses it. — ' Showery Day among the Mountains,' 
painted for the Troy Young Men's Association. 

1 861. 'Genesee Oaks,' painted for Mr. J. S. Wadsworth. — 
A landscape ' Composition,' for Mr. G. Pomeroy. 

1862. ' Landscape,' painted for Mr. D. L. Bartlett, Baltimore. 
At this date my father resigned the Presidency of the 

National Academy of Design. He was now free to pursue his 
labours untrammelled by public cares and duties. As Mr. 
Huntington states in the Memorial Address, he had long 
desired to give the office up. Fully aware that he had out- 
lived his generation, and that he was getting old, he was only 
too glad to leave the interests of artists in younger and more 
competent hands, and confine himself to his own works. In 
his sixty-seventh year his powers may have lost some cf their 
vigour ; but he was unconscious of it and still painted with 
the same enthusiasm. The following list of his productions 
from this time on to the date of his removal from the city 
makes the list as complete as possible. The few works he 
produced in his country studio will be mentioned further on. 
1863. 'Lake George,' painted for Mr. B. F. Gardner, 

A A 


Baltimore. After this, for the same connoisseur, ' Hillsdale,' 
scenery of Columbia County, State of New York. — Landscape, 
' Composition,' for Mr. H. G. Marquand. 

1864. Landscape for Mr. James Cortlan, Baltimore. — 'Black 
Mountain, Lake George,' painted for Mr. Cyrus Butler. — 
' Trees,' after a study from nature made on the domain of Mr. 
G. C. Verplanck, Fishkill Landing, painted for the Allston 
Association, Baltimore. — An ' Ideal ' landscape for Mr. George 
H. Danforth, Madison, N.J. 

1865. 'Solitude,' similar in sentiment to previous pictures 
of forest trees, purchased by Mr. — Bruce. — ' Picnic,' painted 
for Mr. J. Strieker Jenkins, Baltimore. — ' Santa Cruz,' painted 
for the Century Club, New York. — Portrait of Mr. Jonathan 
Sturges, for the National Academy of Design. 

1866. 'Sun effect,' painted for Mr. S. P. Avery. — 'Com- 
position,' for Dr. Keener, Baltimore. 

1868. ' Moonlight,' painted for Mr. B. H. Field, illustrating 
a poem composed by that gentleman. 

1869. 'Berkshire, Massachusetts,' painted for Mr. Walter 
Wright, Chicago. Destroyed in the great fire in that city, and 
subsequently repainted for another person. • 

The last work produced in this period, on which he was 
engaged for three years, and completed after removing to the 
country, was a large composition of forest trees, called ' Primeval 
Forest,' in which he used his most important studies from nature. 
The picture is now in the Corcoran Gallery, Washington. 

The foregoing list of works produced in this period indicates 
a healthy art development in the community. It is spontaneous 
and natural. Artist and amateur meet each other without any 
intermediary to confirm the capacity of the one or prescribe the 


taste of the other ; the latter judges for himself the ability of 
the artist to portray real or ideal scenes which he likes, while 
admiration of the work when done is warmly and generously 
accorded. The vitality of art and the creation of an original 
School of Art could have no better foundation. 

Productive as this period was, and professionally successful, 
my father cannot be said to have pursued the even tenor of his 
way. Domestic affliction, in the loss of his second wife in the 
last half of the year 1857, caused a blank in his life Again, 
his health gave way, mainly on account of overwork. It was 
at this time he sat to Rowse for a crayon portrait, in which a 
certain sadness of expression not characteristic of him is apparent. 
Time, however, the exigencies of his profession, and the natural 
reaction of his temperament, gradually restored his energies. 
The principal disturbance of his mind arose from his duties as 
President of the National Academy of Design, to which office 
he was elected in 1846, on the resignation of Professor Morse, 
who was absorbed by his telegraph interests. During the presi- 
dency of Mr. Morse the Academy had enjoyed a prosperous 
career ; its troubles began, as we have seen, in the rise of 
the American Art Union ; ' hard times ' contributed their share, 
also a series of difficulties attending the procurement of a 
building, involving the raising of money outside the Academy's 
resources and, consequently, running in debt. Differences of 
opinion, again, occurred in the board of management, which 
affected the good relations of its members. This moral and 
business turmoil, so antipathetic to one of his temperament, 
worried the artist and depressed him. Even in summer, when 
he goes into the country for rest and to console himself as 
usual for all kinds of trouble by studying and painting trees, 


he is not left undisturbed, as we see in the following extract 
from a letter by one of his Academy associates : — 

• We want you here. After this year you can stay as long 
as you like in the country, but now we are struggling for 
existence, and the time and talents of every member are re- 
quired to preserve the independence of the profession, and keep 
it from becoming the humble follower of the Art Union. 
Cummings despairs entirely ; but I do not if the artists will 
exert themselves. The review exhibition is a dangerous experi- 
ment, and may, if not properly managed, still further involve 
us ; but it must be tried, for we have announced it ; and no 
sooner did our advertisement appear than our deadly enemies 
of the Art Union put forth a notice of their forthcoming 
exhibition in their new room. We want you here for several 
reasons. We want you to gather in your pictures, but we want 
you more particularly for the building business.' 

In 1857 the war with the Art Union, as before stated, 
had ceased. The Academy, mainly through friendship for its 
president, had obtained funds from capitalists for purchasing 
real estate and for building purposes. Things look prosperous, 
and, on the opening of the exhibition this year, the favourable 
prospect is celebrated by a supper, to which the friends of the 
Academy and the press are invited. On this occasion, my 
father, for the second and last time in his life, speaks in public, 
both officially and extemporaneously, in such a way as to secure 
' unbounded applause.' Unfortunately, no report of the extem- 
poraneous speech exists, which is to be regretted on account of 
its biographical interest. From this time on, down to 1859, the 
affairs of the Academy go on smoothly. Then, however, another 
building is found essential to meet the growing necessities of 



the institution, as well as to secure a suitable monumental 
structure representing art in a city containing fine architectural 
productions of analogous import. Mr. Huntington, in the 
Memorial Address, treats this matter so exhaustively and sym- 
pathetically that I give way to his account of it. 

'On the resignation of Professor Morse, in 1845, Durand 
was elected President of the Academy of Design, to which office 
he was unanimously re-elected till 1861. He guided the affairs 
of the Academy with wisdom ; and the schools, exhibitions, and 
general affairs were successfully conducted during his energetic 
but conservative administration. There were troubles, however, 
which annoyed him. The Academy struggled with financial 
disasters, owing partly to business crises, partly to the distraction 
of free exhibitions, which diminished its receipts. We had no 
permanent home ; the antique casts were in a hired loft, and, 
in order to raise money for a new building and other purposes 
by issuing bonds, the Academy had been obliged to place its 
property in the hands of trustees, of whom Durand was one. 

' Difficulties arose because of conflicting ideas between the 
trustees and the Academy. Some urged the risking the expense 
of a fine building ; others argued for prudence, economy, and 
a plain house. Durand sympathised with the artists, and strove 
to reconcile the opponents, but he hated turmoil, and, to secure 
quiet for his studies, he talked of resigning the presidency ; 
and, notwithstanding the earnest wishes of the members, he 
did so in 1861. Some time before this, a circumstance occurred 
which furnished an occasion for the resignation he had con- 
templated. Proposals had been made for a new building on 
Twenty-third Street. Plans were invited from a few architects, 
and a time fixed for their presentation for decision by the 


Council. On the evening of the appointed day the Council 
assembled. President Durand was in the chair. The designs 
of the competing architects were displayed, but only two were 
judged worthy of serious consideration. Of these, one was by 
an architect then well known for his practical skill, but was 
thought too plain and commonplace in its effect to the eye. 
The other was by Eidlitz, in the Palladian style, pleasing and 
appropriate. Durand decidedly favoured the latter. Most of 
us agreed with him, and after discussion we voted to accept it. 
This decision was not absolutely final, the consent of the trustees 
being necessary. We adjourned, and President Durand went 
home. No sooner had he left than the officer in charge of the 
designs said : " Gentlemen, there is another drawing, but as it 
came after the time fixed for receiving designs had passed, I 
have not thought it proper to place it in competition." We 
exclaimed against so much " red tape," and asked to see it. It 
was brought out. It was a design by Wight, very much like 
our building as it now stands, but more beautiful and picturesque. 
We called for a reorganization. The Vice-President took the 
chair ; we reconsidered the previous vote, and almost unanimously 
decided for Wight's design. 

' Our excitement, and the vexation at the withholding of 
the best design, betrayed us into this lawless disrespect to our 
honoured President. As one of the culprits, I may say it was 
outrageous, and Durand was justly indignant. We apologised; 
the whole body of Academicians joined in a petition, but he never 
took the chair again. 

' I must say that, though he was resolute in refusing to 
condone this unmannerly proceeding of ours in his official 
capacity, he was personally as kind and friendly as ever to 


every one of us ; if possible, even more so. I believe he was 
glad to escape from the anxiety and responsibility of the presi- 
dency, and resume the even tenor of his studious life. 

' I am confident he was happier, and grateful for an occur- 
rence which furnished him with a good opportunity of retiring. 
He wished to do so some time before, but felt bound to remain 
in the office on account of the large amount of money which 
his two friends, Jonathan Sturges and Chas. M. Leupp, had 
loaned to the Academy, in great measure out of personal 
regard to him, and on bonds which Durand had signed as 
President, and for the payment of which he felt an honourable 

More must be said of the summer sojourns in the country, 
forming, as they do, important episodes of my father's pro- 
fessional career, and, besides this, furnishing details of his ways, 
habits, and thoughts. His first object was always to study 
from nature. After the toil of the winter months both vigour 
of mind and body required restoration at the fountain-head of 
his inspiration. Hoboken no longer offered picturesque oppor- 
tunities. Generally speaking, these country expeditions led him 
to seek wild regions, before railways had penetrated to their 
recesses, where only a few scattered inhabitants could be found, 
almost as primitive as the forests, lakes, streams, and mountains 
around them. He visited, according to opportunity and as 
facilities for travel by main lines increased, every region in the 
North supposed to be pictorially available ; always branching off" 
to escape civilisation, ever ready to 'rough it' over corduroy, 
muddy, or sandy roads, in stage-coach and on ' buck-boards,' 
to the great weariness of the flesh ; stopping in the wilderness 
wherever the forms and colour of rocks, the trunks and 


branching of particular trees, the verdant masses of middle- 
distance, and the lines of the mountains answered to his search 
for the beautiful The following places visited by him, at 
which he sojourned for weeks or months according to their 
respective attractions, show his familiarity with the scenery of 
his country. The banks of the Hudson River, near home, like 
Hoboken in early years, come first in order — ' Jacob's Valley,' 
at Kingston ; then, farther west, every nook, corner, and ' clove ' 
in the Catskill, Shandakin, and Shawangunk mountains ; after 
these, to the north, Lake George with Lake Champlain and its 
shores, the Adirondacks on one side and the mountains of 
Vermont on the other ; then, to the east, the White Mountains, 
North Conway, West Campton, the Berkshire Hills in Massa- 
chusetts, the Valley of the Connecticut, and again Lake George 
for many seasons, all so many ' haunts of nature ' in the delinea- 
tion of whose beauties his brush never grew weary. 

Generally, his family accompanied him on these excursions. 
In early years his pupil, Mr. Casilear, was his sole companion. 
As time went on and a younger generation of artists grew up, 
they would join him. Among these must be mentioned Kensett, 
Cranch, Addison Richards, Hotchkiss, Hubbard, Alfred Jones, 
David Johnson, Hall, and others ; E. D. Nelson, an amateur, 
and the only pupil who worked in his studio; and Miss Josephine 
Walters, whom he often advised in the pursuit of her studies. 

Owing to the difficulty of procuring comfortable quarters, 
good food, and good beds, in farmhouses and at country taverns 
on these summer excursions, my father was induced in 1849 to 
try a suburban residence of his own. He accordingly purchased, 
near Newburg, on the Hudson River, a house situated on an 
elevation overlooking the ' Vale of Avoca,' through which ran 


Stud? from Nature on Lake George, In the possession of J - Dttr. 
Htli'gr,'i>urr p.ujar'dfh. Panted h\ C. Wltmti 


masses of middle- 
nswered to his search 
-isited. by him, 
iths according to 
y with the scener 
^ear home, 
Jacob's Valley,' 
nook, corner, and ' clove '• 
nk mountains ; ;? 
ke Champlain and 
.- mountain 
White Mount: 
: Hills in " 
\ :id v ^ftn w £\&V ,v 
tion of /rew weary. 

these ns. 

ists grew 

[ubbai ' I Jo 

, an amateur, 
Miss Josephine 



a somewhat picturesque stream. Unfortunately, romance yielded 
to reality. The banks of the stream c meandering through the 
vale ' were soon wanted for a railroad ; the ground was turned 
up ; fever-and-ague made its appearance, drove him from his 
country retreat, and obliged him to resume his annual search 
for the picturesque in the undisturbed wilderness. 

These excursions were in no sense pleasure trips. Dis- 
comforts and privations of all kinds awaited him at every turn, 
and were cheerfully accepted. The obligations and proprieties 
of society, too — regarded as annoyances which interfered with 
work — were always, when it was possible, avoided, as we see 
in the following extract from a letter written in 1843, dated at 
a certain place too civilised for his purposes : — 

' We are all well here, except that I have a slight indisposi- 
tion in consequence of visits and parties, from all of which in 
future I am sworn off — except one that takes place to-night at 
our house, from which I cannot well escape. I begin to be 
sick of the place, solely on account of society, and if I knew 
where to transport myself out of the way of such a nuisance, I 
would do it forthwith ; but I conclude to remain and conceal 
myself in the woods when I can't in the house.' 

His own letters, as well as those by members of his family, 
afford glimpses of the privations endured in those places, also 
of amusements and of the society that he liked. Writing in 
October 1848, from Palensville, at the entrance of the Catskill 
Clove, he says, ' The Clove is rich in beautiful wildness beyond 

all we have met with heretofore With the exception of 

two days, the weather has been so cold that we have worked in 
overcoats and overshoes, and, in addition, have been obliged to 
have a constant fire alongside for an occasional warming, all of 

B B 


which I have endured pretty well, with no worse effect than a 
slight cold.' At another place he says, ' I caught a fine trout 
which I ate for breakfast — the only decent one I have had since 
I came here ; sour bread, salt pork, and ham being the staple 

' Besides Casilear and Kensett,' writes one of the family, ' we 
have Mr. Volmering, the Dane, with us, or, at least, next door, 
so that we have plenty of talk — amusing, bad English — and 
smoking every evening. You will see that, although retired, 

we are not lonesome The bar-room does all it can to 

lighten our troubles. Wet floors are disagreeable and tobacco 
smoke in a close room unpleasant, but we all put on the best 
face and contribute our mite to the general fund of amusement, 
playing cards indoors when it rains, and, out of doors, singing 
and guessing conundrums, our stock of which is so exhausted 
that we shall have to exercise our faculties in some other fashion. 
Our amusements are all of the quiet kind except one, with which 
every new-comer, friend or stranger, is, in our lawlessness, 
generally greeted. Each of the party is assigned a separate 
syllable of a particular sound, which, at a given signal, is 
vociferously expressed, the result being one grand sneeze 
especially astonishing to strangers. I leave you to imagine 
what the effect would be were you to enter a room containing 
twelve or fifteen persons of different ages, some so quiet and 
grave in appearance as to preclude the suspicion of a joke, and 
find them all at once joining in a deafening sneeze and suddenly 
bursting out in a laugh at your astonishment!' 

At Geneseo (1856) he is annoyed by the poor quality of 
colours and canvases ; he writes, ' With all my trouble I believe 
I have learned more of the management of colours in the 


painting of tones than by all my previous practice, although 
I have never produced so little in the same space of time, 
having made only four studies in five weeks.' An examination 
of these studies shows minute drawing, unsurpassed in those 
made in other places. 

One season my father and Mr. Casilear happened to be 
studying nature in the valley of the Mohawk, during the 
anti-rent troubles on the Van Rensselaer estate. Provided with 
camp-stools, easels, and other sketching paraphernalia, they 
found themselves watched by masked men for some days, and 
finally were told that they must decamp, as surveyors were 
not allowed there ! 

Knowing the desire of the painter for picturesque spots, 
his friends would often recommend this or that place, as they 
thought it adapted to his studies. It is curious to note in this 
connexion that, with most of them, the picturesque was always 
an extensive prospect. Among letters of this kind, I find one 
written from a prosperous city west of the Alleghanies and 
which now contains collections of paintings worthy of note. 
The writer is on his travels in the year 1853, and, apparently, 
in search of works of art. The painting he alludes to was a 
supposed ' old master.' 

' I hope you will excuse the liberty I take in addressing you respecting 
an old oil painting I have picked up in this land of hogs, corn, and 
negroes. How it came here I know not. We have here people from 
every part of Europe — German, Swiss, Dutch, French, Spanish, and 
Italian. I find the natives here have no taste for the Fine Arts — 'tis 
like throwing " pearls before swine " — but for a fine mule, a fat hog, 
or a fine stout negro, who will readily bring $1000, they have a pretty 
considerable relish. Flesh and blood, both of man and beast, will always 
bring ready cash ; paint and canvas are much below par. Some of your 


Eastern artists, who paint by steam, have made several trials here at 
auction. A lot of one hundred and fifty works, with elegant gold-looking 
frames and plenty of red, blue, and yellow paint, were offered the other 
day; about four or five people who appeared to be buyers attended. A 
few pictures were knocked down, perhaps to sham bidders, at a less 
price than the cost of the frames. The owner, if wise, will never try 
again. Half-a-dozen might sell at Christmas or New Year, which would 
suffice for twelve months.' 

These details furnish a sort of background to artistic life 
in the woods. A few words are here pertinent in relation to 
the studies from nature, the fruit of all these varied experiences. 
An artist once visited the studio of my father in the city, 
and, after carefully examining his studies, exclaimed, ' Mr. 
Durand, where did you find such trees ? ' He replied, designa- 
ting one of the principal forest regions or the State of New 
York. ' Well,' said the visitor, ' I have been all over those 
woods, and I never saw trees like these ! ' — for the reason, 
perhaps, that perceptions or insight differ, or, which is most 
probable, methods of study. My father's practice was, while 
faithfully painting what he saw, not to paint all that he saw. 
Finding trees in groups, he selected one that seemed to him, 
in age, colour, or form, to be the most characteristic of its species, 
or, in other words, the most beautiful. In painting its surround- 
ings, he eliminated all shrubs and other trees which interfered 
with the impression made by this one. Every outdoor study, 
as well as every pictorial composition, was regarded as a sort 
of dramatic scene in which a particular tree or aspect of nature 
may be called the principal figure ; other trees, as in the case 
of a study, being subordinate and of relative value in giving 
the most interesting object strong relief. To him, certain 
objects and aspects were more beautiful than others, and not 

^udyfrom Nature on the Domain ofGu[im Q ^ 

L^ng Hudson River, in the possess of Robert Hoe, Eso 
Hehogravure Dujardin. Printed by C. Wittmnnn. 

e varied experiences. 

father in the city, 

exclaimed, 4 Mr. 

,aa>l X-2LU He replied, designa- 

.) wXWO'x? &&*esgioi* «« »*^14e««^ia^fef New 

lV & ^ jrofe&fc gfei»tf|ft& f pp'*ji ■ !l <s W.over' those 


elected on>. 

.eristic c 
ful. In pa' 


the case 

i giving 

i, certain 

and not 


THE « CRAYON: 189 

so many details to be servilely and indiscriminately imi- 

We must now turn to other matters belonging to this 
period. In 1858 the writer, jointly with Mr. W. J. Stillman, 
had the misfortune to embark in a journalistic enterprise called 
the Crayon, devoted to art and its interests. It proved un- 
successful. To a man of large income, wishing to amuse himself 
in the way in which another would run a yacht without regard 
to expense, the venture might be termed practicable ; but to 
one who relied on a paying sympathy for art in the community 
it was a Quixotic undertaking, the folly of which needed only 
experience to make intelligible. To help this enterprise my 
father wrote for the Crayon a series of ' Letters on Landscape 
Painting.' Hastily composed in his leisure moments, and 
somewhat ' against the grain,' as literary efforts were now 
out of his line, these letters have some interest on account of 
his observations on the study of art and nature, as well as 
giving an account of his methods in painting. 

The rise of the American school of art has been exhibited 
to a certain extent on the foregoing pages. Springing out of 
the instinct for art common to all people who use objects in 
nature to make the meaning of ideas and emotions widely 
understood, it has its right to a place among the schools of 
the world. Some of the influences stimulating its growth and 
establishment have been traced. Up to the end of the period 
with which we are now concerned, the school may be said to 
have prospered, although a decrease of its prosperity becomes 
apparent at an earlier date. The professional career of my 
father indicates the period of its prosperity. At the end of 
* See ' Letters on Landscape Painting,' in the Appendix. 


his career, its decline is marked. The causes of this decline 
are easily pointed out. 

The American school of art begins with portraiture — a 
favourite branch of art with the Anglo-Saxons.* Colonial in 
its origin, it is the art of the country down to the advent of 
Luman Reed, when landscape art begins to flourish. Very few 
artists of that day, however, represent the practice of this 
branch of art. In the succeeding generation landscapists multiply 
speedily, which indicates an expansion of public taste. Historic 
and other departments of ideal art also make their appearance. 
The diversity and talent of the school at this epoch, to those 
familiar with the society and scenery of the country which 
inspires the artistic mind, is represented by the names of certain 
painters, sculptors, and engravers, taken haphazard : — Hunting- 
ton, Gray, Cheney, Casilear, Kensett, Darley, Ehninger, Rossiter, 
Woodville, Baker, Church, Elliott, Bierstadt, GifFord, Whit- 
tredge, MeEntee, Beard, William Hart, James Hart, Shattuck, 
George Lambdin, David Johnson, Bristol, Hubbard, Colman, 
Mignot, Hotchkiss, Leutze, F. B. Mayer, Eastman Johnson, and 
many others among the painters ; of the sculptors, Greenough, 

* ' In England, portrait-painting, which touched another sentiment besides 
love of pure art, was the only form that was really encouraged. Painter after 
painter, distinguished in other branches, came over to England, but they in- 
variably found that they could succeed only by devoting themselves to the one 
department which appealed directly to the vanity of their patrons. . . . "Painters 
of history," says Kneller, " make the dead live, but do not begin themselves to 
live until they are dead. I paint the living, and they make me live." . . . No 
painter, however excellent, can succeed among the English that is not engaged 
in painting portraits. . . . Hogarth described portrait-painting as " the only 
flourishing branch of the high tree of British art." ' Canaletti, Vanloo, Watteau, 
and Van Dyck, all famous in other branches, had to paint portraits on coming 
to England. Lecky calls this the 'darkest period of British art.' See History 
of England it. the Eighteenth Century, text and foot-notes, vol. i., page 529. 


Power, Rogers, Bartholomew, Ives, Ball, H. K. Brown, and E. D. 
Palmer ; of the engravers, Danforth, John Cheney, Smillie, Jones, 
Schoff, Burt, and Marshall. Each artist, it must be noted, has a 
style of his own — a style entirely personal, due to original percep- 
tions and impressions of external nature, as well as of dramatic 
or pictorial elements belonging to local social experiences. 

Unfortunately the American school of art is an invisible 
factor among literary and other intellectual products of the 
country. As far as native productions are concerned, they are 
scattered over the country, hidden away in private houses and 
displayed in gloomy drawing-rooms, where sunlight scarcely ever 
penetrates ; colours here fade for want of light, and canvases 
moulder under coatings of dust, damp, and gaseous exhalations. 
Rarely do the owners lend them for public exhibitions. Even 
when American works find their way out of private collec- 
tions before the public, or, again, are purchased by local insti- 
tutions, they are hung in proximity to works of older schools, 
inspired by different sentiments and executed according to 
different methods : American art thus suffers by comparison, 
the same as the art of all modern schools suffers more or less 
by contact with the masterpieces of the old masters. Introduce 
a Rembrandt, a Raphael, a Velasquez, a Titian, or any work of 
a great genius of the Renaissance epoch into the finest modern 
collection, and all other works grow pale before it. What 
America needs is a public gallery (like Kensington Museum 
in London), where the works of American artists can be seen by 
themselves, separate from all other schools and taken for what 
they are — the fresh outcome of feeling and thought inspired by 
a nature needing new interpreters.* 

* What the effect of a gallery of this order would be, may be estimated 

1 92 LIFE OF A. B. BUR AND. 

But it is not my purpose to enforce a special consideration 
of the American school of art. It is sufficient to state to 
those who have not arrived at a proper appreciation of it, that 
if the country possesses able men of marked capacity, types of 
intellectual achievement in other directions — if the country is 
proud of a Hamilton, a Clay, a Webster among statesmen ; a 
Cooper, an Irving, a Bryant, a Parkman among literary magnates ; 
a Fulton among inventors, a Henry among scientists — it has 
equal right to be proud of a Stuart, a Vanderlyn, a Trumbull, 
an Allston, and a Cole among the artists. 

We have now to dwell for a moment on the decline of the 
prosperity of the American school of art at the end of this 
period. Its growth has been attributed to the fostering influence 
of the commercial spirit which rules in the community ; its 
decline is due to the withdrawal of this fostering influence, 
diverted away from it by the introduction into the country of 
foreign art. The causes of this can be only briefly and sum- 
marily stated. 

The eclipse of American art may be said to begin with the 
establishment of the Dusseldorf Gallery in New York in 1 849, 
a gallery which owes its existence to Mr. John G. Boker, a 
resident in Dusseldorf for twenty years, and afterwards Prussian 
consul in the city of New York. Intimate with the artists of 
Dusseldorf, and divining probably, with true commercial sagacity, 
that America might prove a good market for their works, and 
probably, again, influenced by Leutze, who, although born in 
this country, was to all intents and purposes a Dusseldorf artist, 
Mr. Boker obtained a fine collection of their works and placed 

by the fine private collection of works wholly by American artists made by 
Mr. T. B. Clarke in New York, a worthy successor of Luman Reed. 


it before the New York public. The exhibition proved a 
success, but not in the way of sales. The Dusseldorf school 
had no prestige, and, besides this, the public were not prepared 
for it either intellectually or financially. Some people regarded 
the pictures as either painted by, or belonging to, a ' Mr. 
Dusseldorf.' All it denotes is the first appearance amongst us 
of foreign art on a large scale. 

The private collection of Mr. John Wolfe comes next in 
its influence — a collection largely Dusseldorf, and well known 
among local amateurs. The gradual increase of French pictures 
introduced into the country indicates the spread of taste in that 
direction. The first French work which excited the public 
mind was ' The Horse Fair,' painted by Rosa Bonheur, and 
purchased by Mr. W. P. Wright for seven thousand dollars. 
Here the sensational elements necessary for stimulating public 
curiosity were at hand — a work notorious in Europe, produced 
by a woman, and for which more thousands of dollars were 
given for a mere painting than ever before by a private individual 
in America. The Press took up the theme, and spread the fame 
of ' The Horse Fair ' far and near, aided by romantic details of 
the artist's life. Next came a French work of kindred interest, 
' The Duel,' by Gerome, bought by Mr. W. T. Walters of 
Baltimore. It must be here stated that, at this time, the public 
mind in America had been quickened in relation to art by the 
writings and teachings of Ruskin. Whatever may be said of 
the criticisms of works of art, ancient and modern, by this eminent 
writer, of his estimate of special genius, of his theories, hobbies, 
and idiosyncrasies, it is certain that he developed more interest 
in art in the United States than all other agencies put together. 
His remarkable word-painting, the theological bent of his mind, 

c c 


his ascetic temperament, his eccentricities, his moral injunctions, 
furnishing both pulpit and press with material for sermons, news, 
and gossip about art, making popular music on the three strings 
of the mental harp to which the public ear is sensitive, spread 
a knowledge of art among people who would not otherwise have 
given it a thought. Ruskin himself, in his extreme admiration 
of the works of Edouard Frere, gave an immense impetus to the 
popularity of the French school. But Ruskin's influence was 
confined to the intellect ; we have to do with the pocket. Two 
well-advertised works that excited the taste of the rich have 
already been mentioned. To these may be added the fine 
collection of foreign works belonging to Mr. August Belmont. 
In the times of pre-Raphaelitism, an English collection came 
to this country and met with partial success, but not enough 
to render English art popular among picture - buyers. The 
inundation remained wholly French, increased rapidly, and 
finally culminated in a ' craze ' that led to the purchase of 
Meissonier's ' Charge of Cavalry ' for sixty thousand dollars, and, 
at last, of ' The Angelus ' by Millet for one hundred thousand 

Of course this great influx of foreign art could not have 
occurred without a corresponding expansion of wealth at home. 
Beginning in the East, the wave of wealth rolled onward to the 
Pacific. Through the profits of mines, railway enterprises, and 
cattle-raising, it ran mountain high. A new generation of 
energetic men indifferent to Eastern ideals spring up, and, 
craving new outlets for the expenditure of their fortunes as 
well as new criterions of social distinction, find these in the 
adoption of a taste for art. Western millionaires begin to buy 
French pictures right and left. Entering the markets of New 



York and Paris, they vie with each other and with their Eastern 
rivals in seeing who could pay dearest for recognised master- 
pieces. Other agencies help this furore along. Picture-dealers, 
exercising the most influence, find in foreign art a gold-mine. 
Realising profits of one, two, and three hundred per cent, on 
the works that pass through their hands, they serve as inter- 
mediaries between patron and artist, and keep the interest at 
fever heat. The Press push on a cause equally fertile in news 
items and sensational phenomena. Native students, finding 
foreign art in the ascendant, abandon original perceptions and 
imitate the methods and aims of a foreign school. Add to 
this the one-sided admiration of this or that French ' Master ' 
whose life and career offer romantic episodes, ludicrously 
exaggerated in the eyes of those familiar with the facts, and 
we have a remarkable combination of influences which fully 
explain the disappearance of local art — like houses and bridges 
swept away in a mountain torrent. The American school 
becomes out of fashion, and is even derided by native writers. 
It is gravely asserted by one of these that there was no 
American school previous to the founding of the Metropolitan 
Museum in New York, while another asserts that it did not 
come into existence until a much later period. 

In thus attributing the decline of the American school of 
art to the diversion of the native patronage which once ensured 
its development, I do not deprecate or depreciate the result. 
On the contrary, one cannot too highly esteem the introduction 
into the country of foreign treasures of art of incalculable value 
in every sense. Whoever wishes, indeed, to fully estimate 
French art of this generation, can do it better in America than 
in France, for most of its masterpieces are in our land. My object 


is simply to explain a fact in the history of American art — the 
eclipse of the American school, not yet at an end. Fortunately, 
this eclipse is only temporary. Natural instincts for art 
depending on American genius, patronage, and surroundings, 
will yet assert themselves. The community will sooner or 
later demand from its artists a conformity to the nature 
around them, and an interpretation of it not according to 
foreign standards of beauty or methods of execution, but as 
they really see and feel it according to original and common 



Retires into the Country — Works produced there — Letter to a ' Patron ' — Lays 
down the Brush for ever — A 'Surprise Party' — Evidences of the Esteem 
of Young Artists — The Interviewer — Closing Years— Characteristic Traits — 
Portraits of the Artist. 

THE principal incidents and experiences of my father's 
professional life are narrated ; we have now to follow 
him into the country, where he passed the remainder 
of his days. Apart from his taste for rural life and the desire 
for repose natural at his age, he was obliged to leave the city 
on account of annoyances which rendered the neighbourhood 
of his home extremely disagreeable. He had passed fifty-four 
years in the metropolis, and thirty-one of these in Amity Street. 
When he established himself in 1832 in this street, it was on 
the outskirts of the city, far above business tumult and fashion. 
In 1869 it was 'down-town;' fashion had arrived at and long 
abandoned the vicinity, while the immediate neighbourhood had 
been invaded by foreign artisans not remarkable for cleanliness 
or morality, occupying tenement - houses and the dilapidated 
mansions of their predecessors. A retreat became imperative. 
As it is dangerous to disturb a man seventy-three years of 
age, accustomed to a certain routine, the problem consisted in 
how to break up the confirmed habits of a veteran and establish 
a new home for him in which the comforts and conveniences 
of the old could be maintained. A transfer to an entirely new 

i 9 ^ LIFE OF A. B. DURJND. 

locality without associations of some kind was not to be thought 
of. Fortunately, the family property at Jefferson Village (now 
Maplewood) in New Jersey, near South Orange, belonged to 
him, and was considered the most eligible place. Being his 
birthplace and familiar ground, he would not be obliged to 
accustom himself to new scenes and new society. The old 
house in which he was born having been destroyed by fire, a 
new one was erected on its site, provided with a larger studio 
and a finer light than his former one in the city, and to this 
he removed in April 1869. His favourite studies from nature, 
arranged on its walls, surrounded him, and it was not long before 
he was at his easel as if his labours had never been interrupted. 
The residence of his son-in-law, Mr. George Woodman, built the 
same time as his own a short distance toward the mountain, 
furnished him with a convenient stopping-place on his daily 
walks, and likewise pleasant chats with his daughter and grand- 
children. At home the rest of his children lived with him 
and relieved him of all household cares. Not far off an artist, 
Mr. Gaston Fay, resided, while on the opposite side of the road 
there soon came Dr. Alfred M. Mayer, of the Stevens Institute, 
with his family. Add to these the always welcome calls of his 
old pupil, Rev. Dr. Clover, and those of his physician, Dr. 
Whittingham, who fully replaced Dr. J. C. Peters, his regretted 
medical adviser in the city, and he enjoyed a society which 
left nothing to be desired. 

The few works executed by him during this final period of 
his career sum up the labour of his life. The picture of 
' Primeval Forest,' mentioned as belonging to the Corcoran 
Gallery, and still at this time (1870) unfinished, first engaged 
his attention. This received its final touches in the country 


studio. After completing this work, he painted one or two 
portraits and two small landscapes. The last picture of any 
size produced by him is a ' View on Lake George,' still in 
the possession of the family. In 1876 he produced a work 
called ' Sunset on Chocorua,' purchased by Mr. J. B. Dod, of 

In 1873 my father, commissioned to paint a certain subject 
by a gentleman who gave such minute instructions in the matter 
as greatly to worry him, addressed the following letter to him, 
giving some of his views in relation to painting by pre- 
scription : — 

' I have made all the alterations in the picture suggested 
by you that I deem advisable. As to the picture meeting your 
approval, I must add that it gratifies me to have those who 
possess my works pleased with them ; at the same time, in 
executing them, I cannot consult their taste beyond my own 
in the matter of artistic completeness. Every condition on 
which I undertook the picture has been fulfilled ; but not 
wishing to urge it on you, and likewise unwilling to wait 
until it may be convenient to you to take it, I request that 
you will advise me by the fifth of February next whether you 
will accept it as it is ; after that date I shall consider myself 
at liberty to dispose of it to another party.' 

An answer came to the following effect : — 

' As you think you can dispose of the picture to another 
person, I would suggest whether it might not be well for you 
to do so and paint another for me. ... In another effort there 
is but little doubt you would be able to satisfy me fully.' 

Declining this proposal, the picture found a resting-place 


Time was dealing gently with the venerable artist during 
these last years of his professional career. He enjoyed his work 
as much as ever, his mind remaining clear and his faculties 
apparently unimpaired ; most of his morning hours were passed 
in his studio, the rest of the day being devoted as heretofore 
to repose and exercise. Nevertheless, the strength which had 
enabled him to pursue his labours so satisfactorily was gradually 
giving way. His last picture, as is stated in the Memorial 
Address, painted in 1879, was a 'Souvenir of the Adirondack^' 
— a sunset, in which the softly suffused light, spreading over 
a placid lake and quiet sky, aptly figures the tranquility of his 
closing years. As he made the last touches to this picture with 
a hand enfeebled by the weight of eighty-three years, he laid 
down his palette and brushes for ever, saying that ' his hand 
would no longer do what he wanted it to do.' This was a day 
to which his friends and family had looked forward with appre- 
hension. But their fears proved groundless. Accepting the 
situation with his usual equanimity and unconscious that art 
was for him a thing of the past, he left his studio without 
a sign of depression, scarcely ever returned to it, and re- 
sumed his rambles on the mountain, apparently content with 
nature as he enjoyed it in his boyhood. Nothing in his 
manner or bearing indicated a want of occupation, or that he 
felt he had abandoned one on which the even tenor of his life 

The reader may have remarked on these pages the many 
evidences of good feeling and esteem for my father on the part 
of his brethren of the profession. In 1854 a compliment had 
been paid him by the body of artists and other friends in the 
shape of a service of plate. Soon after his withdrawal to his 


new home in the country, in 1872, three years after leaving 
the city, another manifestation of the same import was made 
which, on account of its novel character, deserves special mention. 
Mr. Jervis McEntee in his boyhood had consulted my father 
in relation to the pursuit of art, and, having been eminently 
successful, suggested to his brother artists a ' surprise party,' 
consisting of a picnic in the woods of Maplewood, the material 
for which in the shape of refreshments was to be carried along 
with them from the city. The idea was approved of, and a com- 
mittee appointed, consisting of Messrs. McEntee, Huntington, 
S. R. Gifford, Kensett, and Hall, to carry it out. The 8th of 
June was selected for the occasion.* The morning was rainy ; 
before noon, however, the sky cleared and the day proved 
charming. Nevertheless, the ground being wet, and the house 
capacious enough for the festivity, the woods were abandoned, 
while the lunch, spread on a table on the veranda, took place 
with the usual toasts, speeches, and general hilarity characteristic 
of an informal gathering and where none are strangers. Mr. 
Bryant, a friend for more than forty years, made a graceful 
address, followed by a feeling response on the part of him whom 
all delighted to honour. Mr. Page, whose love for Shakespeare's 
sonnets seemed irrepressible, availed himself of every chance to 
rise and repeat one of these in spite of the amusing efforts of 

* There were present at this party Mr. William Cullen Bryant, Mr. and 
Mrs. Wm. Page, Mr. and Mrs. McEntee, Mr. and Mrs. Eastman Johnson, Mr. 
and Mrs. Thomas Hicks, Mr. J. F. Kensett, Mr. and Mis. E. D. Palmer, 
Mr. Brevoort, Miss Bascom (afterwards Mrs. Brevoort), Mr. W. Whittredge, 
Mr. Launt Thompson, Mr. C. P. Cranch, Mr. J. Q. A. Ward, Mr. G. H. 
Hall, and Mr. J. M. Falconer. Mr. Huntington (prevented by illness), Mr. 
Alfred Jones, and Mr. H. K. Brown, were to have been of the number ; also, 
as historiographet, Mr. John R. Thompson, but who, in delicate health, was 
prevented from coming by the threatening aspect of the weather. 

D D 


Messrs. Hicks and Kensett, on either side, to keep him in his 
seat. Others gave stories and souvenirs of the past. Two of 
the ladies being accomplished pianists, music followed in the 
drawing-room, after which walks in the woods and on the 
mountain, until, towards evening, the party, whirled off to the 
railway station behind four-horse teams, gave many and loud 
cheers on bidding adieu to the venerable subject of their kind 
ovation. Mr. McEntee thus characterises the festivity in a 
general way in a letter to a friend : ' The picnic was a perfect 

success It was a most satisfactory day, and I shall always 

remember with gratification that my suggestion was so heartily 
responded to, and that we were able to show in so fitting a 
way our veneration for the old man.' Another evidence of 
this veneration is supplied, in this connexion, in a letter to 
Mr. McEntee from Mr. John F. Weir, resident at New Haven, 
and unable to attend: — 

' As to the designed honour and professional esteem for Mr. Durand,, 
with that I heartily sympathise. I think we do too little, and cannot 
do too much, to show our respect for the pioneers of our pathways 
which have now become highways. I could sympathise with nothing 
more heartily than with this, and I hope that you will not count me 

absent in spirit when you are deep in the "champagne" libations 

You are sure of having a glorious time, and in honouring Durand all 
you " landscape fellows " honour yourselves.' 

Many were the applications of young men to him during 
his career for advice in the pursuit of art. In every case, and 
always mindful of his early trials, he replied with all the fulness 
and clearness that he could. In fact, it is these applications 
which prompted his ' Letters on Landscape Painting,' published 
in the Crayon, and previously alluded to. As a fitting close to 
manifestations of this kind, I give a letter from Mr. Jared B, 


Flagg, kindly answering my request for any souvenirs of my 
father that he might possess : — 

'My Dear Mr. Durand, 

' My relations to your father, though not intimate, have left 
pleasing and valued memories. It is now more than fifty years since I, 
a young art-student, called at his studio in Duane Street. I was from 
New Haven, Conn., and a total stranger in New York. It was quite 
an event for a lad of sixteen to call and introduce himself to a dis- 
tinguished artist ! I well remember my emotions at the time. I was 
embarrassed with a feeling of awe and diffidence as I rang the bell and 
waited the opening of the door. Your father received me with a gentle 
cordiality of manner that soon placed me at my ease. I told him I 
had heard so often of him as the engraver of Vanderlyn's " Ariadne," 
and as a painter, that I was desirous to see him, and that I esteemed 
it a great privilege to be admitted to his studio. He was full of the 
spirit of the true artist, and the hour I spent with him was both 
pleasant and profitable. He met my artistic enthusiasm as one deeply 
interested in my success, and seemed to take pleasure in answering 
numerous questions which I propounded relating to modes and methods 
of painting. I carried from his studio the impression of a man of great 
simplicity, sincerity, and amiability. 

' A few years after this interview I came to New York to reside, 
and occupied a studio on Broadway not far from your father's residence. 
My success, which was very encouraging, was largely due to his interest 
in my behalf. To persons inquiring for a portrait-painter, he would give 
my name with words of commendation that carried great weight of 
influence. Mr. Tileston, a man of wealth, interested in a line of trans- 
Atlantic steamers, and a lover of art, offered to give to any artist, 
desiring to study abroad, whom your father, then President of the National 
Academy of Design, would nominate, a free passage to Europe. In the 
second year of my residence in New York, I was honoured as your 
father's nominee, but was unable to avail myself of the privilege. Such 
kindly interposition for my advancement laid me under an obligation of 
gratitude in which I shared with many others, for he was one who loved 
to aid his fellow-men. I do not think that he had an enemy, and when in 


the fulness of years he passed on to the higher life, the benediction of a 
circle far wider than that of his family, or the community in which he 
lived, followed him. 

'It is eminently proper that such men should be embalmed in our 
literature, and kept fresh in the memory of succeeding generations by 
special biographical memorial. They are the common property of the 
race, and I know of no more beneficent work than that of giving them 
such prominence, that they who came after them may draw from the 
record of their virtues, inspiration and encouragement.' 

I add one more testimonial of this description furnished by 
Mr. S. P. Avery, familiar with the artist's career in all 
directions : — 

' As for me, I like to talk with those who knew him, and thus refresh 
my recollections of him — always kind to me, so simple in his manners and 
in his ways of life, so modest in his claims to fame, so sound in his 
judgment of art, such a helper to all seeking for information, so strong in 
the right, so generous in his recognition of rising talent, so thoroughly an 
American in the good old-time sense.' 

Notwithstanding the removal to the country, the usual 
summer excursion was not abandoned. My sister, who always 
accompanied my father on these occasions, states : — 

' We went twice to the Adirondacks and seven times to Lake George 
after we removed to Maplewood, the last excursion being in 1877, in his 
eighty-first year. We camped out twice, once at the Ausable and again 
at Lake Placid. As it was the first experiment of the kind with him, we 
were anxious about the result. But it turned out well. We hung his 
corner of the tent with rubber blankets, and covered his bed of spruce 
or balsam boughs with a buffalo robe, and though it rained hard three 
nights there were no bad effects from it. Good camp-fires in front of 
the tent, being so much in the pure air, and good meals, kept him well. 
It was then that he made the studies for the picture now on the easel in 
the studio, and his last work.* 


Study from Nature on Lake George, in the possession of F. F. Durand. 
Heliogravure Dujardin. Printed by C. WHtmann. 


hed by- 


.33ilT-aMH A and 

. ,v£w>£> *&*£ '^ k1 in his 

horoughly an 
an in the good __ 

' W 


, we" 

che si. 



On one of these excursions, Mr. Huntington encountered 
him, as mentioned in the Memorial Address, and thus alludes 
to it : — 

* Durand was fond of Lake George scenery, and there painted many 
of his best studies. I visited the pleasant resort he frequented late in 
the afternoon, as the shadows were deepening in the ravines of Black 
Mountain. We were kindly welcomed by the white-haired artist, who 
was smoking his quiet pipe on the old-fashioned stoop of the snug farm- 
house, surrounded by a group of friends and members of his family. The 
following day we made a party to row to Harbour Island for sketches and 
a picnic. It was a lovely day in the early autumn. Harbour Island is 
one of the beauties of Lake George — irregular in shape, varied by forests 
and rocky shores, having a sequestered interior bay with a narrow 
entrance, where the still, transparent water, protected from wind, reflects 
every leaf. Durand, with his accustomed industry, was soon busy with a 
study. Some sketched or strolled about, or lounged with idle oars to 
various points of the shore. The views are beautiful. To the east rises 
the massive form of Black Mountain ; to the south stretches the lake, 
dotted by the hundred islands of the Narrows ; and the western outlook 
is hemmed in by the broken outline, deep forests, and rocky precipices 
of Tongue Mountain. In this fascinating region Durand calmly but 
earnestly pursued his summer studies for several seasons. The serene, 
translucent waters of Lake George were typical of the frank, placid, 
and truthful spirit of the man.' 

After he stopped painting his energies relaxed somewhat, 
and he was content to remain at home. It might be supposed 
that time would hang heavy on his hands, but this was not the 
case. Early in life, before he relinquished engraving, he had 
acquired a knowledge of French, which at this period proved 
a great resource. He read nearly all the works of Renan and 
of Taine, then appearing, and in the Revue Germanique found 
a large collection of tales and romances. He always preferred 
reading to himself instead of being read to. Most of his hours 


in summer were passed on the veranda of his house, seated in 
the sunshine, smoking his pipe and watching the life on the 
road before him. Here he received the calls of his neighbours 
and occasional visitors from the city. I am indebted to Dr. 
Mayer, his nearest neighbour, for the following reminiscence, 
showing the humorous side of the artist's character. My 
father's aversion to the intrusive interviewer, without know- 
ledge and with still less delicacy, who has no scruples in 
speculating on private feelings or opinions, was very great. 
Dr. Mayer found him engaged with one of those individuals, 
questioning him on behalf of a certain health journal. 
' Mr. Durand, I suppose that you never used tobacco ? ' 
' Yes, sir, I have always used it ; I smoke now, and when a 
young man I chewed.' 

' Ah ! but you did not drink ardent spirits. How is that ? ' 
' Yes, sir, I have, and do so now. My daughter has just 
given me an egg-nogg with brandy in it.' 

' Well, during your long life you have done a deal of work ? ' 
' That is true. I have spoiled a great many canvases.' 
After this the interviewer, somewhat disconcerted, withdrew, 
the information he obtained in no respect answering to his fore- 
gone conclusions. 

I add other reminiscences of the closing years of his life 
furnished by Mr. Barnet Phillips in an appreciative article 
already quoted from : — 

4 Mr. Durand states that his scepticism in regard to maps and their 
accuracy dates from an early period, a person who had left a map for 
him to engrave having complained of the omission in it of a certain large 
river ; requested to show where the river might be, he placed his broad 
finger on a large county and observed, " Put it here, the river runs some- 


where about there." Alluding to the abandonment of engraving for 
painting, " What a relief it was," said Mr. Durand, with youthful ex- 
pansiveness, " to be able to stand for an hour before some fine tree, in 
direct sympathy with it ! I had done so when a boy, on long summer 
days, and now, when a man, I had a higher appreciation of it than 
ever, and enjoyed it all the more — the great happiness of standing face 
to face with nature ! " ' 

We now reach the closing years of his life. Enough has been 
given on these pages, it is hoped, to enable the reader to form 
some idea of the artist's temperament, habits, and disposition. 
One or two details may be added. In a country where self- 
interest is pushed to extremity, my father was an exception ; 
personal interests, as far as these depended on any form of 
self-assertion, were lost sight of. This absence of a calculating 
spirit was accompanied with an even temper, never ruffled by 
misfortune or disappointment. Losses, failures, afflictions, and 
sacrifices always were accepted with unquestioning resignation. 
If occasionally roused by some attack on his dignity or con- 
science, his resentment was never of long duration. The same 
serenity and equanimity continued to the last hour. Free from 
organic disease, the last six years of his life passed away exempt 
from suffering, and attended with no discomfort except that 
which necessarily accompanies the decline of faculties impaired 
by age. Unworldly in every sense, with no longing unsatisfied, 
no work thai he had projected unfinished, no expression ever 
denoted a regret in relation to the past or betokened any kind 
of mental despondency. Day after day passed tranquilly, 
without loss of interest, according to the state of his faculties, 
in persons or things around him. Surrounded by his children 
and grandchildren, every want and feeling gratified, he thus 


glided gently along until the final hour was reached. Those 
who loved him have the satisfaction of knowing that his life 
ended in an honoured, happy, and beautiful old age. 

It is not in my province to estimate the professional capacity 
or the character of the man. An abler pen than mine — that of 
Mr. Huntington — early familiar with him in all relations, of 
kindred powers and aims, associated with him officially and 
socially, and his successor in the presidency of the National 
Academy of Design, bears witness to these points in the 
Memorial Address: — 

' Durand was endowed with certain traits which combined to form a 
great artist. He was early smitten with the love of nature ; his native 
patience was strengthened by the severity of his early struggles, and to 
these was added an indomitable perseverance. His love of nature was a 
passion, an enthusiasm always burning within him ; but it was like a 
steady fire, not a sudden blaze quickly sinking to ashes. His patience 
enabled him to guide this intense delight in beauty into paths of quiet, 
steady search for the result. It was touch after touch, line upon line, 
a gradual approach to victory. Added to this was his untiring perse- 
verance, which no difficulties could overcome, no obstacles diminish, or 
even cold indifference discourage. Though full of nervous energy, alive 
to every beauty, keenly sensitive to criticism, and a severe critic on his 
own work, he was yet blessed with a certain serenity of spirit which 
checked and soothed the restless fever of the creative brain ; a fever often 
so violent in the painter or the poet as to cause a deep and sometimes fatal 
reaction and depression. Durand formed a habit of working on and on 
cheerily till the coveted prize was gained. 

' He maintained that a landscape-painter in his early studies should not 
only make careful copies of nature in the fields, but be trained by drawing 
the human figure, both from the antique and from the living model. 
Accuracy of eye, with facility and exactness, can rarely, if ever, be 
acquired without such practice. Such a training quickly asserts itself in 
the modelling of forms in mountain, rock, and forest, in cloud structure, 


the lines of waves, &c. The forms of inanimate nature seldom demand 
absolute accuracy of drawing ; but in accessory figures, buildings, and 
animals, it is essential. Durand, through his drilling as an engraver of 
figures, and especially of portraits, was habitually true and exact ; yet he 
dwelt with great fondness on those qualities which depend on the pro- 
cesses and mysteries of the art, the rendering of subtle and infinitely 
varying effects of atmosphere, of fleeting clouds, mist, sunshine, twilight 
obscurity, and the thousand wondrous phenomena which form the 
peculiar glory of landscape. 

'The whole fraternity of artists were proud of his achievements, 
reverenced his character, and looked up to him with affection. In the 
midst of the beautiful surroundings of his home, in a house standing on 
the spot where he was born, he tranquilly passed a serene old age, 
modestly wearing the laurels won by the faithful struggles of a noble 
and useful life ; and patiently submitting himself to the will of God, 
calmly awaited the summons which, on the 17th day of September, 
1886, at the venerable age of ninety years, called him to the eternal 
life beyond.' 

It is only necessary to add that the Rev. Dr. Clover, his 
pupil and friend, officiated at the funeral ceremony, and that 
the interment took place in Greenwood Cemetery. 

There are several portraits of my father. The first one 
is by Wm. Jewett, painted before 1825. After this comes a 
portrait painted by Colonel Trumbull in 1826, and, next, another 
painted by E. Metcalf about 1830. He painted his own portrait 
for the National Academy of Design about 1835. Mr. W. T. 
Walters commissioned C. L. Elliott to paint a portrait of him, 
now in his possession. In 1864 a copy was made by Mr. Elliott 
for Mr. S. P. Avery, who published an engraving of it by John 
Halpin. This copy, bought of Mr. Avery by Mr. John Taylor 
Johnston, is now in the Corcoran Gallery at Washington. Mr. 
Huntington painted a portrait of him for the Century Club, 
representing the artist seated on a knoll under trees, engaged on 

E E 


the picture of ' Franconia Notch.' Rowse made an excellent 
drawing in the possession of the writer. A bust by H. K. 
Brown, modelled in 1854, is in the possession of the National 
Academy of Design. There is a medallion by Kuntze, a 
cameo medallion by Saulini, made in Rome in 1840, and a 
medal bearing his head by Muller, issued by the Artists' Fund 

My task is finished. This work is an attempt to exhibit 
the life of an American artist dependent for the development of 
his talent on the natural taste for art in the community in which 
his lot was cast. Whatever his artistic merits may be, his 
rank in the profession will be assigned him by posterity. If 
I have succeeded in explaining his career by documents that 
furnish some idea of his sentiments, associations, and experiences, 
and have been able to arouse interest in the life of one who loved 
nature and portrayed its beauty as he found it to the best of his 
ability, my efforts have not been in vain. 



Extracts from ' Letters on Landscape Painting! -published 
in the ' Crayon] 1855. 

' Dear Sir, 

' I am compelled to return an unfavourable answer to 
your application for admission into my studio as a pupil. Among 
the many instances in which I have found it necessary to return a 
refusal, your case most interests me, on account of the earnest love 
of nature you manifest, and the strong desire you express to devote your 
whole time and energies to the study of Landscape Art. I hope the 
disappointment will not be regarded by you as discouraging, for I can 
readily imagine you may have over-estimated the advantage of such lessons 
as you desire at my hands, and I take occasion to submit for your con- 
sideration, by way of encouragement, some remarks resulting from my 
own experience under circumstances very similar to your own. With 
the same love of beautiful nature from my childhood, and the corre- 
sponding desire for its development through the knowledge and practice 
of Art, I was, by several years, older than yourself before I was able 
to devote even a small portion of my time to the favourite pursuit. I 
then thought as you now think, that if I could but obtain a few lessons 
by seeing an experienced artist work, or working myself under his eye 
and direct instructions, most happy should I be. That privilege, how- 
ever, I never enjoyed ; and subsequent years of toil and study have 
somewhat modified my estimate of the value of such privileges. Indeed, I 
am almost certain that instead of any real benefit resulting from it, the 
greater chance is, that in most instances it will prove pernicious. 

' It is true that the pupil may thus save time in the acquisition of 


certain technical knowledge, mechanical processes, most suitable colours, 
&c. ; at the same time he is, at least, in danger of losing his individuality, 
and from the habit of seeing with the eyes and following in the track 
of his master, becoming in the end what is most offensive in the mind 
of every true artist, a mere imitator, a mannerist. 

' You need not a period of pupilage in an artist's studio to learn 
to paint ; books and the casual intercourse with artists, accessible to 
every earnest young student, will furnish you with all the essential me- 
chanism of the art. I suppose that you possess the necessary knowledge 
of drawing, and can readily express with the lead pencil the forms and 
general character of real objects. Then let me earnestly recommend 
to you one Studio which you may freely enter, and receive in liberal 
measure the most sure and safe instruction ever meted to any pupil — ■ 
the Studio of Nature. 

' Go first to Nature to learn to paint landscape, and when you shall 
have learnt to imitate her, you may then study the pictures of great 
artists with benefit. They will aid you in acquiring the knowledge 
requisite to apply the skill you possess to the best advantage — to select, 
combine, and set off the varied beauty of nature by means of what, in 
artistic language, is called treatment, management, &c I would urge 
on every young student in landscape-painting, the importance of painting 
direct from Nature as soon as he shall have acquired the first rudiments 
of Art. If he is imbued with the true spirit and can appreciate and 
enjoy the contemplation of her loveliness, he will find in the conscien- 
tious study of her beauties all the leading principles of Art. Let him 
scrupulously accept whatever she presents him, until he shall, in a degree, 
have become intimate with her infinity, and then he may approach her 
on more familiar terms, even venturing to choose and reject some portions 
of her unbounded wealth 

' True Art teaches the use of embellishments which Nature herself 

furnishes ; it never creates them If you should ask me to define 

conventionalism, I should say that it is the substitution of an easily 
expressed falsehood for a difficult truth 

' Form is the first subject to engage your attention. Take pencil 


and paper, not the palette and brushes, aud draw with scrupulous 
fidelity the outline or contour of the objects you select, and, so far as 
your judgment goes, choose the most beautiful or characteristic. If 
your subject be a tree, observe particularly wherein it differs from those 
of other species : in the first place, the termination of its foliage, best 
seen when relieved on the sky, whether pointed or rounded, drooping 
or springing upward j next mark the character of its trunk and branches, 
the manner in which the latter shoot off" from the parent stem, their 
direction, curves, and angles. Every kind of tree has its traits of 
individuality — some kinds assimilate, others differ widely ; with careful 
attention these peculiarities are easily learned, and so, in a greater or 
less degree, with all other objects. By this course you will obtain the 
knowledge of that natural variety of form so essential to protect you 
against frequent repetition and monotony. A moment's reflection will 
convince you of the vital importance of drawing, and the continual demand 
for its exercise in the practice of outline, before you begin to paint. 

' I know you will regard this at first thought as an unnecessary 
restriction, and become impatient to use the brush, under the persuasion 
that you can with it make out your forms, and at the same time produce 
colour and light and shade. In this you deceive yourself, as many 
others have done, till the evil has become irremediable ; for slovenly and 
imperfect drawing finds but a miserable compensation in the evident 
efforts to disguise or atone for it, by the blandishments of colour and 

' Although there are certain principles constantly guiding the hand of 
the true artist, which can be defined, classified, and clearly understood, 
and, therefore, communicable — yet the history of Art from the beginning 
does not present a single instance where a thorough and scientific 
knowledge of these principles has of itself produced a truly great artist, 
for the simple reason that such knowledge never can create the feel- 
ing which, overruling all principles, gives the impress of true greatness. 
I caution you, therefore, against reliance on theoretical or technical 
directions which I or any one else may give in the course of your 
studies, further than as means which you are to employ subject to your 
own feeling 


1 Waste not your time on broad sketches in colour ; such only can 
be useful to the mature artist, as suggestive rather than representative. 
You had better look at all objects more with reference to light and 
dark than colour ; but do not infer from this that I would depreciate 
the value of colour, for it is of inestimable value. It is, however, a 
sort of humoursome sprite or good demon — often whimsical and difficult 
of control — at times exceedingly mischievous, spoiling many a good 
picture as if with mere malicious intent ; but when experience shall 
have acquainted you with its tricks and its virtues, you will understand 
better the worth of its service. 

1 "■ You had better learn to make shoes," said the venerable Colonel 
Trumbull, one day, to a stripling who was consulting him in reference to 
his choice of painting as a profession — "better learn to make shoes or dig 
potatoes than to become a painter in this country." I felt that this 
was a harsh repulse to the young man, and most unexpected from such 
an authority. I was not then a painter, but secretly hoping to become 
one. I felt a strong sympathy for the victim, and thought he was 
unkindly treated ; but I can now imagine that there might have appeared 
to the mind of the veteran artist sufficient ground for such advice, and 
that it may have been an act of kindness rather than severity. It is 
better to make shoes, or dig potatoes, or follow any other honest calling 
to secure a livelihood, than seek the pursuit of Art for the sake of gain. 
.... Through such motives the Art becomes debased, and a picture 
so painted, be its subject landscape or figure, may well be considered 
but an empty decoration. But, fortunately for Art, such is not its true 
purpose ; it is only through the religious integrity of motive, by which 
all real artists have ever been actuated, that it still preserves its original 
purity, impressing the mind through the visible forms of material beauty 
with a deep sense of the invisible and immaterial, for which end all this 
world's beauty and significance, beyond the few requirements of our 
animal nature, seems to be expressly given 

'To appreciate Art, cultivation is necessary, but its power may be felt 
without that ; the feeling educates itself into the desired appreciation, and 
derives from it a coi responding degree of pleasure, according to the purity 
or depravity, the high or low character, of the Art that awakens it 


4 1 have already advised you to aim at direct imitation, as far as 
possible, in your studies of foreground objects. You will be most 
successful in the more simple and solid materials, such as rocks and 
tree-trunks, and, after these, earth-banks and the coarser kinds of 
grass, with mingling roots and plants, the larger leaves of which can 
be expressed with even botanical truthfulness ; but when you attempt 
masses of foliage or running water, anything like an equal degree of 
imitation becomes impracticable. 

' It should be your endeavour to attain as minute portraiture as 
possible of these objects, for although it may be impossible to produce 
an absolute imitation of them, the effort to do so will lead you to a 
knowledge of their subtlest truths and characteristics ; thus, knowing 
thoroughly that which you paint, you are able the more readily to give 
all the facts essential to their representation. This excessively minute 
painting is valuable, not so much for itself as for the knowledge and 
facility it leads to. 

' There is a marked distinction between imitation and representation, 
and if this distinction be at first difficult to comprehend, it will become 
more and more apparent as you advance. Although painting is an 
imitative Art, its highest attainment is representative, that is, producing 
such resemblance as shall satisfy the mind that the entire meaning of 
the scene represented is given. 

' Truth of colour and general harmony, whether of warmth or 
coolness, will satisfy every eye ; if the picture fails in these it is false 
somewhere, while if the artist devotes himself with overweening fondness 
to a preconceived notion of any particular quality of colour, without a 
primary regard to truth in its adaptation to his subject, he can scarcely 
fail to produce an incongruity, and thus fix the attention of the observer 
on the nice mixture of pigments rather than on the sentiment of his 
work. Nothing is more common among pretentious critics, as well as 
artists, than commendations of this and that picture for certain fine 
qualities of colour ; it is a favourite theme with the conventionalist, and 
when these peculiar qualities evince extraordinary skill, all other con- 
siderations are thrown aside, and the painter becomes distinguished for 
that alone. Thus many a young artist is sadly misled, seeking for 
something that he does not see or feel, and blindly falling into servile 


imitation of some prominent leader in the display of these much-lauded 

' All the best artists show that the greatest achievement, in the pro- 
ducing of fine colour, is the concealment of pigments and not the parade 
of them ; and we may say the same of execution. The less apparent the 
means and manner of the artist, the more directly his work appeals to the 
understanding and the feelings. I shall never forget the reply of Allston 
to some friends who were praising a very young student in Art for great 
cleverness, especially in the freedom of his execution. "Ah," said he, 
"that is what we are trying all our lives to get rid of." With that he 
opened a closet, and brought out a study of a head that he had painted 
from life, when a young man, at one sitting, and placed it beside a finished 
work on his easel, at which we had been looking. " There," said he, 
" that is freely painted." No other comment was required ; in the one, 
paint and the brush attracted attention, in the other neither was visible, 
nothing but the glow of light and colour which told its truth to Nature — 
and thus it is with the works of all the greatest colourists. Their skill 
lies in the concealment of the means by which the desired effect is 
attained ; consequently their productions defy the sagacity of the critical 
examiner to detect any specific mixture or compound by which their 
characteristic excellence has been attained. It is neither warmth nor 
coolness that elicits admiration, force nor delicacy, high key nor low 
key ; but always harmony and entire subordination of means. Now, 
we are not to suppose that this subordination has been especially aimed 
at by the artist, but that it is the consequence of the process by which 
higher aims have been reached. 

' Execution is simply the mode of applying paint to the canvas. It is 
praiseworthy when it gives assurance of correctness in drawing, and of the 
knowledge and feeling that have guided the hand. Too much importance 
is often attached to it, and the young artist is apt to regard it as one of 
the first objects of his pursuit, instead of the natural consequence of his 
practice. Your execution will be good in proportion to your knowledge 
and skill in drawing ; when it becomes conspicuous as a principal feature 
of the picture, it is presumptive evidence, at least, of deficiency in some 
higher qualities. So, your colouring will more likely be good, or even 


excellent, when it does not arrest the attention, and thus divert the eye 
and mind from the superior considerations of design, composition, and 

' Servile imitation, so called, is difficult to understand. If its meaning 
is limited to that view of realism which accepts commonplace forms and 
appearances, without searching for the ideal of beauty, the objections are 
valid ; but if it comprehends the faithful representation of all that is most 
beautiful and best fitted for the purposes of Art, really existing and 
accessible, and ever waiting to be gathered up by earnest love and 
untiring labour, then is it an utter fallacy, born of indolence and conceit. 
With the faculty to perceive and select from the infinite beauty and 
significance of Nature, surely no artist can reasonably complain for lack 
of unbounded liberty. Imitation of Nature is indeed servile, and every 
way unworthy, when it discards the necessity of selection 

' I desire not to limit the universality of Art, or require that the artist 
shall sacrifice aught to patriotism ; but, untrammelled as he is, and free 
from academic or other restraints by virtue of his natal position, why 
should not the American landscape-painter boldly originate a high and 
independent style, based on his native resources ? — ever cherishing an 
abiding faith that the time is not far remote when his beloved Art will 
reflect the fine scenery of his " own green forest land," and secure for 
the artist as fair a coronal as ever graced a brow " in that Old World 
beyond the deep." 

c Truly yours, 

' A. B. DURAND.' 

F F 



Reply of Horatio Greenough to a criticism by George William 
Curtis on the picture, 'God's Judgment upon Gog,' published 
in the 'New York 'Tribune J 1852. 

' To the Editors of the Home Journal. 

' Gentlemen, 

'I find in the Daily Tribune of May 20th [1852], 
under the rubric of " Fine Arts," a criticism of Mr. Durand's picture of 
the destruction of Gog and his host, which seems to me to deserve a 
moment's attention. It commences as follows : — 

' " Whatever Mr. Durand does is undeniably excellent. We had the 
pleasure, last year, of recording at some length our impression of his charac- 
teristics as a painter. His position is assured. A quiet, pastoral poet — a 
Thomson on canvas — always soothing, never inspiring — sure to please, equally 
sure not to surprise — a careful and loving student and imitator of the placid 
aspect of nature, and a genius that breathes pastoral peace over all his works — 
such was, in general, our feeling of Mr. Durand as an artist. It has been 
confirmed from year to year. There has been little marked advance, within 
our recollection, although certainly no retrocession. As with Bryant in poetry, 
it does not seem that the artist's experience deepens and widens with time. 
What they paint or sing to-day, they might have painted and sung twenty 
years ago. Without insinuating that either painter or poet suggests the remark, 
it is yet true that he who labours to preserve a reputation will be very apt to 
cease to deserve it. The stern claim made upon every artist, of whatever 
department, is to leave what he has done behind him, in his perpetual passage 
to greater achievements. It is a terrible law, but we are all held to it. And 
the history of illustrious men is the story of their unceasing advance." 

' You will remark that the critic gives Messrs. Bryant and Durand 
each a sugar-plum and a box on the ear. They are bidden to be content 
with respectability and excellence. They are told that they can never 


surprise, and, lest the slap should fail to reach them, they are reminded 
shortly afterward that greatness always surprises. Disclaiming any intent 
to belittle these men, he asserts that " he who labours to preserve a 
reputation will seldom deserve it." Not satisfied with judging the work 
of Durand for what it is intrinsically, the critic lugs in Raphael and 
Kaulbach, and coolly measures the stature of the President of the School 
of Design. He cites before his anonymous authority two very able men, 
and thrusts upon their brows two small garlands of " Daphne's deathless 
plant," seeking the while to sting them to the quick by a poisoned thorn 
wreathed with the verdure of approbation. Is this fair criticism? 

' It is a strain of remark seldom applied to the works of those that are 
passed away, yet, to my reason and feeling, is singularly uncourteous and 
offensive as towards contemporaries. If either of the gentlemen thus 
dealt with were a hero of the hour— mounted upon vogue, and riding 
roughshod over a blinded public, debasing the general taste by claptrap, 
or filling his pockets by the hurried abuse of certain popular elements of 
effect, I would understand such asperity, and perhaps excuse it. As it 
stands, it looks to me very like an outrage — coming from under cover, 
a mean outrage. 

' An impartial public does not thus judge those whose study and 
labours are devoted to the best and purest enjoyments of society. An 
impartial public does not, in accepting the fruit of any man's genius, flout 
him by trumpeting some one else, and thus send him away with a flea in 
his ear. 

' Charles Churchill undervalued the genius of Hogarth. He sought 
to stamp him as one who, in a world of beauty, saw only vice to lash and 
deformity to ridicule ; but this talk about Hogarth, thus presented in the 
garb of criticism and approbation, too, was only personal hate and spite 
in disguise. A contemporary of D. Teniers might easily have wounded 
his feelings by setting forth the greatness of the styles he never attempted, 
and lauding his ale-house scenes and groups of peasantry, but collective 
manhood would soon deal justly with such criticism. Collective man- 
hood would see in such talk about the grand style, only a bullet ; in such 
praise behind it, the gun-cotton intended to send it home. In short, a 
grudge against old David, and no special love of painting. Collective 
manhood has silence for the failures of able men, and joy and reward for 


their success. It is often your individual who has been socially froisse, or 
perhaps overshadowed, who lets off a petard of this kind under the seat 
where the approved have been placed by opinion. 

' With the long and clever discussion about the difference of the old 
and new dispensations I have nothing to do, but will remark in passing 
that the writer seems well fitted to handle such matters. He has the 
acumen and the rancour adapted to theological problems. There is one 
quotation, however, in the article singularly at war with its general spirit, 
and, to my sense, worth all the rest of it, " Little children, love one 
another ! " 

' Let us hope that the frame of mind in which this criticism of 
Durand was written is not habitual. If it be so, then doth the writer 
inhabit a little hell of his own, from which we wish him a speedy 
deliverance. We wish it truly; for we have remarked that only your 
originally sweet wine will sour to a vinegar of such acrid proof. 

' Yours, 

' An Artist.' 

' To the Editors of the Home Journal. 

' Gentlemen, 

' I had occasion, a few weeks since, to complain of the 
spirit in which a correspondent of the Tribune had ventured to state not 
only what Mr. Durand is, but what he thought that painter lacks of 
"greatness." I wish now to say a few words about a "terrible law" 
to which " we are all held," to leave behind us our past works in a 
constant march towards perfection. 

' I have known many terrible laws, but they were all human laws, 
and, in the long run, proved just as foolish as they were terrible. I have 
known several men of undoubted genius, and never found them groaning 
under a sense of oppression of the kind set forth in the Tribune. The 
man of genius is pre-eminently the servant of a God whose service is 
perfect freedom. This terror — this delirium tremens — of responsibility 


belongs, I believe, rather to what is called talent, especially when con- 
joined with a fierce desire to parvenir^ as the French say — to succeed. 

' Your man of genius goes about looking for responsibility ; and when 
he finds it, he takes it joyfully, often telling you, somewhat frankly, that 
he is the man for it, and forgetting, in the fervour of his volition, that 
modesty which the copy-books have conjoined inseparably with merit. 
He not only promises largely, magnificently, but he tells you that his 
performance is not to be despised — Exeg'i monumentum cere perennius ! 
Regalique situ pyramidum altius. That's the way he talks when he is 
communicative and in good humour with himself. 

' I believe it is Ovid who shows his conviction of the immortality 
of the soul by loudly defying old " tempus edax rerum " to strike one 
leaf from his laurelled brow. 

' Dante says that he writes from a harmony, that suona dentro inside 
of him. He accuses no terrible pressure from without, except political 
tyranny and want of bread. L'altrui pane — eating the crust of charity 
— that is his complaint. Shakespeare's " eye in a fine frenzy rolling," 
rolled from the fulness of the God within, not from fear of outward 
look or black mark in the Tribune. 

' I am afraid that some of our critics, with their stern claims and 
terrible law, have swallowed more of the east wind than is good for 
the liver. They may do harm with this reign of terror. Boys of 
genius are sprouting in every direction, by all accounts. Why scare them 
in this way ? 

' Look at Robert Burns ! When he brought forward his little speci- 
mens of the utterance of genius, the dominant intellect of Britain said, 
" It is naught ! " So they set him to gauge whiskey ; yet, when he had 
gone his way, " straightway they rejoiced !" built him a huge monument, 
and bemoaned him. So far from making any stern claim upon this mind, 
now known as the very jewel of Scotland, the dunderheads never found 
out what he was good for until he was gone. Burns hankered and 
cankered — he confessed it — but it was not for fear of not getting utter- 
ance : it was, he says, " to see their cursed pride." They made stern 
claims of some kind or other, and he protested against them. There is 
little doubt that the man saw in the distance the big marble monument 
that was to shelter his image. He would gladly have exchanged some 


tithe of its future outlay and splendour, and have received therefor a 
cottage for his wife and bread for his bairns. What terror inspired his 
song ? If I mistake not, he says, roundly, " I rhyme for fun." 

' Though my hair is now fast whitening, I remember, as it were but 
yesterday, my wedding-day. The parson who officiated on that occasion 
was one of these " terrible law " people ; he made my Mary weep, and I 
gave him, internally, an Irish blessing. Now, I have never found, during 
a long life, any of the terrible business he talked about. We prefer each 
other now as we did then — at least that is my position ; and when I trace 
in our boys the joint resemblance, my heart expands with such proof of 

1 Genius would seem to make immense efforts, almost unconsciously, 
and to keep a large reserve out of the fight altogether. Shakespeare went 
into the country and remained still. He has told us that he knew his 
name would have a life where life is most active, "even in the mouths 
of men." Lord Bacon, too, pointed out his future station in the 
world's opinion, adding, mournfully, that it must be withheld " until 
some time be passed away." This disposition on the part of mediocrity 
to harry and scourge and flout men of creative power, looks more like 
the result of a terrible law than anything else in the annals of genius. 
Still, it is too general not to be an ordinance of God. Like loves 
like, and it requires the collective heart of man to made a quorum to 
judge the broad, the deep, the genial soul. The man of vast power 
of mind is like the fortress full of armed hosts, with spears glittering over 
the turret, with pointed artillery and burning match. We set down to 
sketch it and glorify it more cordially when the portcullis chain is 
broken, the guns are spiked, and the ivy and the owl have possession of 

its towers. 

' Yours truly, 

' An Artist.' 




Old Pat, after a study from life by 

John Trumbull, author of ' M' Fin- 
gall,' after the portrait painted by 
Col. John Trumbull. 

James Otis. 

Franklin, after a medallion. 

Rev. James Milnor. 

Rev. Alexander McLeod, D.D. 

Rev. Henry Wilbur. 

Rev. Samuel H. Cox, D.D. 

Rev. J. B. Matthies. 

Rev. Wm. Ross. 

Rev. Hugh Blair, D.D. 

Rev. Richard Reese. 

Rev. Joshua Soule. 

Rev. Elijah Woolsey. 

Rev. Wm. Phcebus. 

Rev. Elijah Hedding. 

Rev. Laban Clark. 

Rev. James B. Finley. 

Rev. Wm. Patton. 

Rev. J. M. Matthews. 

Rev. Philip Milledoler. 

Rev. J. B. Romeyn, D.D. 

Rev. John Wesley {copy). 

Rev. Gardner Spring. 

Rev. Sylvester Lamed. 

Rev. John Summerneld. 

Rev. John M. Mason, D.D., after 

a portrait by Jarvis. 
Rev. Eliphalet Nott. 
Rev. Edmund D. Griffin. 
Rev. Nathaniel Bangs. 
Rev. Dr. Dalcho. 
Rev. Wm. Jay. 
Rev. Wm. Sprague. 
Benjamin West. 
Oliver Wolcott. 
Philip Hone. 
Wm. Paulding, after a drawing by 

the engraver. 
Cadwallader D. Colden. 
John Hunter. 
Noah Webster. 
Adam Clarke, LL.D. 
Michael Pekenino. 
W. H. Crawford. 
Judge Piatt. 
Anna Braithewaite. 




Elias Boudinot. 

Wm. Fuller, after a drawing by 
C. C. Ingham. 

Major-General C. C. Pinckney. 

John Quincy Adams, after a por- 
trait by Sully. 

Joseph O. Plessis. 

Lindley Murray. 

Wm. Floyd. 

Wm. Pinkney. 

Hugh Williamson, M.D. 

Wm. Gibson, M.D. 

Wm. Swaine, M.D. 

Valentine Mott, M.D. 

Philip S. Physick, M.D. 

S. L. M. Mitchell, M.D. 

Thomas Cooper, M.D. 

David Hosack, M.D., after the por- 
trait by Sully. 

Lieut.-Col. Charles de Salaberry. 

General Andrew Jackson, full- 
length, after the picture by John 

John Trumbull, after the portrait 
by Waldo and Jewett. 

Gilbert Stuart, after a miniature by 
Sarah Goodrich. 

Isaac Shelby, after the portrait by 

Commodore Decatur, after a copy by 
Herring of the portrait by Sully. 

Joel Barlow, after the portrait by 
Robert Fulton. 

General Jacob Brown, after the por- 
trait by Jarvis. 


John Jay, after the portrait by Stuart 
and Trumbull. 

Aaron Ogden, after the portrait by 
the engraver. 

William Gaston, after the portrait 
by G. Cooke. 

John Brooks, after a copy by Her- 
ring of the original by Stuart. 

James Kent, LL.D., after the por- 
trait by Spencer . 

James Monroe, after the portrait by 
John Vanderlyn. 

Alexander Hamilton. 

David Crockett, after the portrait by 
A. I. De Rose. 

John Marshall, LL.D., after the 
portrait by Inman. 

Mr. Cowell. 

Mr. Hilson. 

Mr. Duff! 

Mrs. Barnes. 

Mr. Barnes. 

Mrs. Hilson. 

Mr. Macready. 

Edwin Forrest. 

George Jones. 

James H. Hackett. 

Stephen Van Rensselaer. 

Rem Rapelje. 

De Witt Clinton, after a medal- 

De Witt Clinton, after the portrait 
by Inman. 

De Witt Clinton, after the portrait 
by Ingham. 



Morgan Lewis. 

Garrit Furman. 

Robert C. Sands. 

Catherine M. Sedgwick, after the 
portrait by Ingham. 

George Washington, after the por- 
trait by Trumbull. 

Portraits (continued). 

George Washington, after the por- 
trait by Stuart. 

George Washington, after a drawing 
by Miss Sparks from the bust by 

Charles Carroll of Carrolton, after 
a portrait by Harding. 

American Landscape. 

Weehawken, after a view painted 

by TV. f. Bennett. 
Catskill Mountains, after a view 

painted by the engraver. 
Fort Putnam, after a view painted 

by R. TV. Weir. 

The Delaware Water-Gap, after a 
view painted by the engraver. 

Falls of the Sawkill, after a view 
painted by W. J. Bennett. 

Winnipiseogee Lake, after a view 
painted by T. Cole. 

Illustrations for Annuals. 

The Ghost of Darius, after a picture 

by Inman. 
The Wife, after a picture by Morse. 
The Dying Greek. 
The Sisters, after a picture by Morse. 
The Greek Boy, after a picture by 

R. W. Weir. 
The Greek Lovers. 
Gipsying Party, after a picture by 

C. R. Leslie. 
William Tell. 

The Power of Love. 

The Dull Lecture, after a picture 

by Stuart Newton. 
Anne Page, Slender, and Shallow, 

after a picture by C. R. Leslie. 
The White Plume, after a portrait 

by Ingham. 
The Bride of Lammermoor, after a 

picture by Inman. 
Sancho Panza and the Duchess, 

after a picture by C. R. Leslie. 

G G 




Head of St. Anthony. 

Arrival of Hendrik Hudson. 

The Declaration of Independence, 
after the picture by fohn Trumbull. 

Musidora, after a design by the 

Title-page for a volume commemo- 
rative of the opening of the Erie 
Canal, published by the City of 
New York. 

Title-page for the New York Mirror. 

Design for theTypographical Society. 

Diploma for the New York His- 
torical Society. 

The Monument of Edmund Kean, 
St. Paul's Churchyard, New York. 

Lady Lightfoot, racehorse. 

Eclipse, racehorse. 

Ball tickets and Business cards. 

Vignettes, miniature portraits, and 
other designs for Bank-notes, esti- 
mated at one hundred in number. 

Ariadne, after the picture by fohn 


Academy of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania, 61 
Academy of Design, National, 27, 62, 

in, 125, 169; exhibitions, 133 
Academy Fine Arts, American, 27, 61, 62 
Allen, Theodore, no; and the New 

York Gallery, 127 
Allston, 46 ; ' Bloody Hand,' 66 ; cele- 
brity of the day, 104; conversation 
with Durand, 1 1 1 
American Art, eclipse of, 192 
American villages, 5 
Andre\ Major, 120 
Anecdotes :— 
Academy building designs, 181 
Academy v. Art Union, 170 
Bank-note, order for a, 71 
Bennett, J. Gordon, and the New 

York Gallery, 128 
Clarke and William Page, 88 
Clover's portrait of Clarke, 88 
Commission, minute instructions for 

a, 199 
Cozzens, Abraham, and the New York 

Gallery, 129 
Cruel hoax, 89 

'Engraving the Ministers,' 55 
' Interviewed,' 206 
Lady's design for a landscape, 137 
Luman Reed and his carman, 106 ; 
and Hackett, 117; his munificence, 
McDonald Clarke and William Page, 

Map-making, 206 

Negress and ' Impressionist,' 68, note 
Pekenino, 36 
Portrait-landscapes, 136 
Proving an ' Old Master,' 66 
Sketch Club, imposing a penance, 95 ; 

sumptuary law, 93 
Trumbull and painting as a profes- 
sion, 214 

Art, nature of, 47; American, 58, 60; 
appreciation of foreign, at expense of 
native, 67 ; Fashion and, 66 ; history in 
relation to, 52 ; past and present, dif- 
ference between, 53 ; picture dealer, 
65 ; Smybert, 102 

Art Union, American, 126, 133 169 ; 
'Art Union war,' 171 

Artists, early American, 103 

Artist, service of, to society, 47 ; a psy- 
chologist, 47; Europe the Mecca of 
the American, 142 ; qualities of, 48 

Astor, John Jacob, 79 

Authors, recreations of, 39 

Autobiographical fragment, 17 

Authorities consulted : — 

Adams, Brooks, Emancipation of 

Massachusetts, 2 
Adams, C. F., Three Episodes of Mas- 
sachusetts History, 7, 10 1 
Art Union Bulletin, 169 
Bancroft, 7 

Cummings, T. S., Historic Annals of 
National Academy of Design, 27, 91 
Dunlap, History of the Arts of De- 
sign, 27, 54, 62, 103, 104; Life of 
Trumbull, 27 
Durand, J., Prehistoric Notes of the 

Century Club, 91 
Eggleston, Edward, 3 
Godwin, Parke, Life of W. C. Bryant, 

Huntington, Daniel, Memorial Ad- 
dress, 19, 25,43,81, 175-181,205,208 
Lecky, History or England, 8, 60, 190 
Mel lick, Story of an Old Farm, 8, 9, n 
Nichols, T. L., Forty Yeats in Ame- 
rica, 2, 10, 1 r-14 
Phillips, Barnet, A sher Brown Durand, 

56, 70, 206 
Sloane, W. M., French War and Revo ~ 
lution, n 



Barnum, P. T., ' Gallery of Beauty,' 138 

Doughty, 134 

Bennett, James Gordon, 128 

Dukand, A. B.: — 

Belts, F. J., 135 

Aim in his profession, 46 

Beverages, 10 

Allston, visit to, 1 11 

Bolivar, 37 

American Landscape, 72 

Bonheur, Rosa, 'The Horse Fair,' 193 

Applications for advice to, 202 

Brimmer, Martin, 103 

'Ariadne,' 76 

British Institution, 146 

Artist's career, condition and develop- 

Bruen, Mary, wife of Samuel Durand, 2 

ment of, 47 

Bryan, Elizabeth, wife of Dr. John 

Artists, American, at Rome, 162 

Durand, 1 

Art patronage in the West, 187 

Burr, Aaron, 45 

Avenger of wrong, 83 ; letter from 

offender, 84 

Capture of Major Andre, 1 20 

'Athens in Greece,' 136 

Casilear, J. W., letter from Durand, 1 1 1 

Belgium, arrives in, 155 

Casts, association for procuring, 62 

Calmet, Dictionary of the Bible, illus- 

Century Club, 91 ; cause of formation of, 

trations of, 24 


Claude, impressions of, 158 

Chalon, A. E., 148 

Closing years, 207 

Chapman, 134 

Commissions from C. A. Davis and 

City and Country, 141 

Luman Reed, 108 

Clarke, McDonald, the ' Mad Poet,' 87; 

Correspondence, 43, ill, 113, 180; 

cruel hoax, 88; and W. Page, 88; 

with Messrs. Cary & Lea, 59 

verses by, 88, note 

Criticism of Durand's work by G. W. 

Clay, Henry, 108 

Curtis, 218 

Claude, Durand's impressions of, 158 

Designs for Academy building, 182; 

Clover, Rev. Dr. L. P., note by, on 

dissent of the President, 182 

Clarke, 88 

Discussion on Rousseau, 40 

Cole, Thomas, 119; ' Course of Empire,' 

Domestic affliction, 179 

119; letters from Durand, 123, 134; 

Eccentric connoisseur, 140 

letters to Durand, 136, 141 ; method 

Elysian Fields, 39 

of landscape-painting, 81; 'Voyage of 

English painters, criticisms of, 147 

Life,' 120, 169 

Engravers, 46 

Collections, private, 65, 125 

Engraving for business purposes, 69 

Colonial times, rank in society, 2 ; vil- 

Engraving of ' Declaration,' &c, 25 

lages, 5 

Engravings, list of, 223; for publica- 

Combe, George, 144 

tions, 59 

Commercial man, the, ior 

Excursions into the country, 183 

Constable, 151 

Favourite writers, 38, 205 

Cooper, J. Fenimore, letter by, on 

Florence, 157 

copying Italian pictures, 64 

Fourth of July Oration, 30 

Copley, J. S., 103 

French origin, 1 

Corcoran Gallery, Washington, 102 

Funeral in Greenwood Cemetery, 209 

' Course of Empire,' T. Cole, 119 

Grammar machine, 20, note 

Cozzens, A. M., ' posts ' his father in art 

Ideal landscape, an old lady's, 137 

history, 129; private collection, 125; 

Illness of, 82 

succeeds Mr. Wetmore as President 

Influence of environment on, 15 

of Art Union, 171 

Initiatory efforts at painting, 98 

Crayon, The, 189 

Installation in New York, 35 

Instructions for a design, 71 

Dealer, picture, natural product of com- 

' Interviewed,' 206 

mercial spirit, 66 

John Bull, 154 

Debating societies, 38 

Journal, 143 

Delaroche's ' Hemicycle,' 45 

Lands in England (1840), 146 



Durand, A. B. (continued) : 

Durand, A. B. (continued) : 

Landscape, European and American, 

Rome, 161 


'Solitude,' 39 

Letters from P. T.Barnum, 138 ; Thos. 

Speech in 1857, 180 

Cole, 136, 141; W. Dunlap, 54; 

Speed of work, 113 

Alvan Fisher, 43 ; Luman Reed, 

Studies at Rome, 163 

116; P. M. Wetmore, 170 

'Surprise party,' 201 

' Letters on Landscape,' to the Crayon, 

Swiss scenery, 156 

189, 211 

Temperament, 207 

Letters to Thomas Cole, 123, 134, 140, 

Theatre, visits to, 39 

158; to J. W. Casilear, 11 1 

Tour abroad (1840), 143 

Life on board ship, 144 

Trial and sorrow, 82 

London and its sights — masquerade, 

Turning-point in his life, 131 


Various paintings, 165 

Looking forward to return home, 

Visits to picture galleries, 146 

(1841), 165 

Wilkie's methods, on, 148 

' Love and Moonshine,' 34 

Durand, Cyrus, inventions by, 20, note, 

' Lower ten,' 41 


Manuscript notes, 81 

Durand family, qualities of, 3 ; reasons 

Maps and their accuracy, 206 

for migration to New Jersey, 2 

Marriage of, 35 ; second marriage of, 

Durand, Jean, French ancestor, 1 


Durand, John, birth of, 2 ; marriage of, 

' Musidora,' engraving of, 38, 75 

3 ; names of children, 3 ; purchase of 

Notes on facial expression and antique 

land at Jefferson Village, 2 ; 

costume, value of, 81 

Durand, Samuel, birth of, 1 ; marriage of, 

' Old Masters,' 147 

2; settles at Newark, N.J., 2 

Painting by prescription, 199 

Dusseldorf Gallery, 192 

Painting from Nature, 8 1 

Paris and French artists, 155 

Edmonds, Mr. F. IV., autobiographical 

Partnership with his brother, 70 

memoranda, 17; travels with Durand, 

Patriotism of, 32 


Poetical effusions, 33 

English encroachment, 7 

Portrait painted by Col. Trumbull, 27; 

Exhibition, first in the country, 62 

by Daniel Huntington, 176 ; by 

Expansion of wealth, 194 

Rowse, 179 

Portraits of the artist, 209 

Faile, Thomas H., 125, 128, 130, 132 

Portraits (engraved) : Adams, John 

Fisher, Alvan, letter of, 43 

Ouincy, 56; Jackson, General, 56; 

Flagg, G. W., 114, 122 

ministers, engravings of, 55 ; vari- 

Flagg, Jared B., recollections of Durand, 

ous subjects, 56, 57 ; Washington, 



Food and cooking, 10 

'Portrait-landscapes,' 136 

Franklin, Benjamin, on conversation, 

Portrait-painting under difficulties, 108 

9 1 

Practice in landscape-painting, 188 

French Art in America, 194 

President of the National Academy, 

Fyt, ' Dogs and Game,' 115 

170 ; resigns, 177 

Purchase of pictures by Art Union, 

Gallery of Beauty, ' Premium Portraits ' 


for, 138 

Procures examples of eminent en- 

Gallery of Fine Arts, New York, history 

gravers, 46 

of, 126, 127 

Rambles, 39 

Genealogy of Durand, 1 

Recollections of Durand, written by 

Graham, Sylvester, 38; affected by death 

J. B. Flagg, 203 

of brother-poet, 87 ; apostle of bran- 

Return from Europe (1841), 165 

bread, 85; 'poetic temperament,' 86 



Greenough, Horatio, 64 ; reply to a 
criticism of Durand by G. VV. Curtis, 
218; the 'terrible law' unnoticed by 
genius, 221 

Hackett, J. H., the actor, correspond- 
ence, 117 

Haggerty, Ogden, 132 

Harper, James, 129 

Heath, James, 25 

Historical Society, New York, 130 

Hone, Philip, collection of, 65 

Hopkinson, Joseph, and the Society of 
Artists, 63 

Houdon, 47 

Hoyle, 134 

Hudson, Hendrik, 5 

Huguenots, 1, 19 

Illustrated publications : — ' American 
Landscape,' 72 ; 'Annual,' 58, 91 ; 
'Atlantic Souvenir,' 59; 'Gift,' 59; 
' Talisman,' 59 ; ' Token,' 59 

Impressionism, 68 

Independence, Declaration of, 3 ; en- 
graving by Durand, 25 

Ingham, 133 

Inman, 60 

Jackson, General, sits for portrait, 108 

Jarvis, 45 ; humour, 80 

Jefferson Village, 2 ; beverages, 10; 
bigotry in, 8 ; difficulty of procuring 
'help,' 13; dressmaker, 14; food and 
cooking, 12; maladies, 13; pastimes, 
9 ; situation of, 4 ; street nomencla- 
ture, 15 ; topography, 14; winter, 12 

Kensington Museum, 191 

Lafayette, Marquis of, letter from Trum- 
bull to, 26 

Landseer, merits of, 151 

Language, hieroglyphic, 49 

Latrobe, B. H., 63 

Leslie, C. R., 104, 148, 150 

' Letters on Landscape Painting ' : — 
advice to students, 211 ; colour and 
harmony, 215 ; execution, 216; form, 
212 ; imitation and representation, 
215 ; servile imitation, 217 

Leupp, C. M., 117, 125 

Leney, W. S., 22 

Line engraving, a fine art, 45 ; public 

taste, 46 
Livingston, Robert R., purchase of casts 

for American Academy, 62 

Maladies in New Jersey, 13 

Maplewood, 15 

Marsh, G. P., 133 

Maverick, Peter, 23 

Milford, Connecticut, town of, 1 

Mizon, M., the explorer, 68, note 

Morghen's ' White Horse,' 46 

Morse, 60, 133 

Mount, W. S., some of his pictures, 120; 

122, 134 
Mayer, Dr., 206 
Music, 10 
1 Musidora,' 38, 175 

Neale, printer of engravings, 26 

Newark, 2 

New York, 5 ; Broadway, 23, 78 ; 
changes in, 40 ; expansion of, 78 

New York Mirror, devoted to ' belles- 
lettres,' 63 

Nucleus institution of American primi- 
tive life, 4 ; church served as club, 7 ; 
peculiarities, 5 ; religious questions, 8 

' Old Masters,' 67 ; Durand's criticisms 

of, 147 
' Old Pat,' painting by Waldo, 25 
Oliphant, R. M., 125 

Paff, Michael, picture dealer, 66 

Page, W., 133 

Paintings by Durand : — 

'An Old Man's Lesson' (1846), 173 
'An Old Man's Reminiscences' (1845), 

' Berkshire, Massachusetts' (1869), 178 
'Black Mountain, Lake George' 

(1864), 178 
' Capture of Major Andre' (1833), I2 ° 
' Castle Blonnai' (184-), 165 
' Church at Stratford-on-Avon' (1841), 

' Close of a Sultry Day,' 173 
' Composition' (landscape)(i86i), 177; 

(1863), 178 
'Composition' (1866), 178 
'Cottage on Lake Thun' (1840), 165 
'Dance on the Battery' (1836), 132 
'Dover Plains' (1848), 173 



Paintings by Durand {continued) : 
' Forenoon 1 and 'Afternoon'(i847), 173 
'Genesee Oaks' (1861), 177 
'God's Judgment upon Gog' (1852), 

'Hagar in the Wilderness' (1829), 98 
'Healing the Possessed' (1837), 132 
'High Point, Shandakin' (1853), 175 
'Hillsdale' (1863), 177 
'Ideal' (landscape) (1864), 178 
'Indian Vespers' (1849), 174 
' In the Woods' (1855), 175 
'June Showers' (1855), 175 
'Kindred Spirits' (1849), 174 
'Lake George' (1863), 177 
'Lake Hamlet' (1857), 176 
'Landscape Composition' (1847), 173 
'Landscape' (1857), 176; (1858), 176; 

(1862), 177; (1864), 178 
'Last Interview between Washington 

and Harvey Birch' (1843), 133 
' Mary Magdalen at the Sepulchre ' 

(1826), 98 
'Moonlight' (1868), 178 
' Morning and Evening of Life ' ( 1 840), 

'Morning Ride' (1851), 174 
'New Hampshire Scenery' (1858), 176 
'Oberhasle' (1 841), 165 
'OberweseF(i84i), 165 
'On the Island of Capri' (1841), 165 
' Passage through the Woods' (1846), 

'Picnic' (1865), 178 
Portraits: ' Col. Aaron Ogden' (1833) 

99; 'John Manesca' (1833), 99; 

'Mr. Jonathan Sturges' (1865), 178; 

group of three children (1833), 98; 

various, 109-112, 135 
' Primeval Forest' (1854), 175 ; (1870), 

178, 198 
'Progress' (1853), 175 
'Raven Hill' (1851), 174 
'Reminiscence of the Plaaterkill 

Clove' (1859), 176 
'Rip van Winkle' (1838), 132 
'Ruth and Naomi' (1837), 132 
' Sailing Party,' 135 
'Samson and Delilah' (1831), 98 
'Samson shorn of his Locks' (1827), 

'Santa Cruz' (1865), 178 
' Saturday Afternoon' (1840), 135 
'Shipwreck' (1850), 174 

Paintings by Durand (continued): 

' Showery Day among the Mountains ' 
(i860), 177 

'Solitude' (1865), 178 

' Souvenir of the Adirondacks' (1879), 

' Stranded Ship,' 135 

'Summer Afternoon' (1855), 175 

'Sunday Morning' (1850), 174; (i860), 

'Sun Effect' (1866), 178 

'Sunset on Chocorua' (1876), 199 . 

'Symbol' (1856), 176 

'Thanatopsis,' (1850), 174 

'Trees,' (1864), 178 

'The Pedler,' (1835), 120 

'The Rainbow,' 135 

'View on Lake George' (187-), 199 

'View on the Susten Pass' (184-), 165 

'Western Emigrants,' 135 

'Wrath of Peter Stuyvesant' (1836) 
Papers, family, 8 
Paulding, J. K., 120 
Peale, C. W, association of artists, 62 ; 


Pekenino, Michael, letters from, 36 ; 
return to Italy, y] 

Philanthropists, 84 

Portrait-painting among the Anglo- 
Saxons, 190 

Post, Rachel, Dutch origin of, 3 

Pre-Raphaelites, 68 

Presidents, portraits of, 108, no, 114 

Profession of an artist a hard one, 43 

Reed, Luman, 97; appreciation, 126; as- 
sists J. H. Hackett, 118; benefactions, 
116; birth and career, 105; character- 
istics, 105; connoisseur, 107; effects 
of his example on art, 125; erection 
and decoration of his house, 121 ; his 
illness, 123; death, 124; letters from, 
109, no, 116; to G. W. Flagg, 114, 
122 ; New York Gallery of Fine Arts, 
126; presentation to Museum, Brook- 
lyn, 114; relations with Thomas Cole, 
119; sends G. W. Flagg to Europe, 
114; sympathy and munificence, 127 

Religious feeling, symbols and expres- 
sion of — Egyptian, 49 ; Greek, 50 ; 
Roman, 50; Christian, 51 

Renaissance, 51 

Roberts, M. O., 125 



Rubens, fete in honour of, 156 
Ruskin, influence in America, 193 

Sands, R. C, letter to the Stmidard, 92 

Schools of Art : American, 189; Dutch, 
47, 52 ; English, 67 ; French, 67 

Self-government, 7 

Sketch Club, or, 'The XXI.,' 90 ; ob- 
jects, bye-laws, 92 ; scientific inspira- 
tion, 95; members of the Club, 96; 
Sketch Club jollity, 95 

Smillie, James, 73; engraving of 'Voy- 
age of Life,' 120 

Smillie, James D., note by, 74 

Smith, Enos, 22 

Smybert, influence of, 102 

Soap and butter as mediums for model- 
ling, 69 

Springfield, 2 

Stanfield, style, 151 

Stevens, Frank, 41 

Stevens, John, 41, note 

Stevens' property, 40 

Stuart, Gilbert, 103, 104 

Sturges, Jonathan, 125 ; President of 
Gallery of Fine Arts, 127, 130; aids 
Durand, 135, 142 

Sully, 46, 133 

Tennent, Gilbert, preaches at Amboy, 

Town, Ithiel, commissions to Cole and 

Durand, 136 

Trumbull, Col., death of, 27; Dunlap and 
Trumbull, 27, note; engages Durand 
to engrave the ' Declaration of Inde- 
pendence,' 25 ; negotiations with trus- 
tees of Yale College, 28 ; progenitor 
and President of American Academy, 
27 ; relations with Durand, 27 ; trans- 
ference of Trumbull collection, 29 

Turner, 150, 152 

Vanderlyn, 45; 'Ariadne,' 76; 60, 104, 

Van Dyck's ' Moncada,' 45 
'Voyage of Life,' 120, 169 

Waldo, 25, 28, 45 

Ward, Samuel, encourages native art, 
119, 125 

Water-colour painting, 147 

Wealth, influence of, 100 

Weir, R. W., 134 

Weir, John F., 202 

West, Sir Benjamin, 37, note; emigra- 
tion to England, 47, 104 

Wetmore, Prosper M., president of the 
Art Union, 170 

Wilkie, Sir David, Durand introduced 
to, 148 

Winckelmann and Lessing, art theories, 

Yale College, 28 

Yale School of Fine Arts, 29 




Page 65, 1. 4 from the bottom, for Fennimore read Fenimore. 
Page 74, '1. 2 from the top, for James B. Smillie read James D. Smillie. 

DM 2.7. 21 8 5<* % 

London : Printed by Strangcways & Sons, Tower Street, Cambridge Circus, W.C. 




The following errors, mainly due to the conditions under which the 
proofs were read, must be noted by the reader : 

Page 56, for John Marshall, first chief-justice, read John Marshall, chief- 

Page 56, for Charles Carrol of Carrolton, read Charles Carroll of Car- 

Page 57 and elsewhere, for S. L. M. Mitchell, read S. L. Mitchell. 

Pages 59 and 60, for Cary, read Carey. 

Page 62 and elsewhere, for Charles Wilson Peale, read Charles Willson 

Page 67, Leslie was not "born on American soil" as stated, but in 
England, of American parents. 

Page 80, for Thomas Addis Emmett, read Thomas Addis Emmet. 

Page 102 and elsewhere, for Smybert, read Smibert. 

Page 103, line 9, for Z776, read 1774. 

Page 103, line 16, for 1770, read 1768. 

Page 103, line 18, for 1774, read 1770. 

Page 103, line 21, for 17Q4, read 1777. 

Page 103, line 23, for 1872, read 1811. 

Page 104, line 17, for ?nore of an adventurer than the rest, read more ad- 
venturous than the rest. 

Page 192, Leutze, instead of being born in this country, was born in 
Nuremberg, Bavaria. 

Page 201, line 2 from the bottom, for historiography, read historiographer. 

Page 224, for Goodrich, read Goodridge. 

Page 224, for Swaine, read Swaim. Omit M.D. 

Page 232, index, for Sir Benjamin West, read Benjamin West. 


n "2 to *•■ 2 co 2 co *2^~ 

in — to r; <n r; to 


y> — £ co ± to ' - S co 


'J> Z OT Z , to 2 </, 2 

2 CO 2 W Z CO ** 2 CO 

co — co ^ 2 \ ^ ^- — s. 5 

2 -J 2 


Z ...• CO z .to 2 _. . to 

i .^% i ^^ i J% i ,v^i J%1 -^>*l #x 






CO 2 to ♦ 2 

NoiiniiiSNi imvinoshiiws ssibvaan libraries Smithsonian institution NouniiiSNi nvino< 

- to r; _ to ^^ co - 


co * m Xt^S?!^ to ^iVAS^x rn "".>^ £ x^vas^ m 

Z co f= to • = to 


< ~ s ^.^.^ < 


2 4 ^X /• 

> ^VASViiX 5 '>\^' 5 s 

2 CO ' *** 2 CO 


to — to ^ 2 \ W - . r? to 


;3iavaan_LiBRARiES smithsonian_ institution NouniiiSNi nvinoshiiws ssiavaan librai 

CO _ to OT 


Institution NoiiniiiSNi"jwiNOSH±iws saiavaan J UBRARiEs 2 SMiTHsoNiAN J iNSTiTUTioN 2 Nounii 

^_^^ 2 ~ \> 2 I— 2 r~ 2 


13 1 ava a n "*-' b rar i es SMiTHsoNiAN""iNSTiTUTiON W NoiinxiiSNi~NviNOSHiiws w S3 1 a va a n = l » b R af 

a. 5? *. ^ ^ -^ 2 ^ w 2 to w u • ■ 





o: i Vise ,,.,\j*l 

2 ^■»— -^ 


O - 


^ ^- -^ 52 2 ».• CO -^ en 

< Xu*5oa^x 2 < X\ ^ 5? ct' 3» 

ksIkW \ S Sr<mir ° lie a^i MP'-'^W ° 

2 co 2 CO * 2 ^ » 5 

^^ 2 j^-~*~~*^ !U^ ^^ *"~ in 


co ti in 


3 1 ava a n J-' b rar i es Smithsonian institution N0iiniiisNrNviN0SHiiws </ 's3 1 ava a n "li b rar 

CO ff 

W -^2 W -^ 2 S X^vosv^ > 2 


^°*^\ W /^^^\ V* ^^. ^ /^^ff\ Z x^cr~^v ^ ^^". 2 /^~^> 


"^ 7T? ^: